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Doing a Literature Search for your dissertation or project


Doing a Literature Search for your dissertation or project girl at PC

Are you undertaking any research for a dissertation or project? If you are, you will need to do a literature search to identify relevant and appropriate material. This guide will give you simple steps and rules that will help you search more effectively.

This guide will help you to:

  • Consider your topic and identify keywords
  • Plan your search strategy using advanced search techniques

This guide is aimed at students preparing for their dissertation or final year project. Please note it is not subject specific. (Health students will find the CINAHL and Critical Appraisal guides more relevant to their needs).


To get the most out of this guide it would be helpful if you've given some thought to the subject of the topic you want to research

Support materials

Download the following document and complete the exercises in conjunction with the PowerPoint presentation above:

You may find it useful to use a search record form to keep note of your searches and results. Click on the link below to download a blank form.

Using One Good Result as a Launch Pad

If you find an article that is particularly relevant for your subject you can often follow links within that record to find other useful articles:

  • Author: has the author written anything else
  • References: other research to read
  • Keywords: use in revised search
  • Publication: worth browsing
  • Cited by: quoted in this record

Using one result as a launchpad

Further reading and useful links

Click on the image to see additional useful resources

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Next steps

If you thought this information was useful you may want to look at some of the other Learning Hub guides aimed at helping students with your writing and assessments. Click on the icon below.

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If you have any comments about this skills guide, we would love to know them. 

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