Research Methods: Doing a literature review

Eira Patterson | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Electronic searches

Boolean operators: the words AND, NOT, and OR can be used to combine words in a search string to allow you to:

  • narrow the search by using NOT which will reduce the number of sources retrieved (in Google and Google Scholar, this function can be achieved by inserting a minus sign in front of the word)
  • or broaden the search using AND or OR

The search can also be broadened by locating different search terms and by putting ~ in front of a word, which will facilitate related words being found e.g. ~foreign students will also find international and overseas students.

Truncation symbols such as * (most common) or ? or $ can be attached to the suffix of a word to allow you to search for different suffixes e.g. ‘manage*’ would enable you to retrieve the terms manager, managing, manages and management.

Wildcards such as ? or # can be used to represent letters that may vary e.g. behave? would retrieve behaviour and behavior.