Research Methods: Doing a literature review

Eira Patterson | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Solving common problems related to searching for sources

If your search comes up with too many results and you find that a lot of these are not directly relevant to the focus of your enquiry, then the search parameters are too broad and need to be narrowed. This can be achieved by limiting the population or narrowing the focus. For example if the following search terms had been used:

behaviour management

The search could be made more specific by:

  • limiting the population to primary age children narrowing the focus to positive strategies

Also the NOT operator can be used to make the search more precise by screening out a particular subset of results if you are findings that a particular unwanted theme is appearing in the search results.

Alternatively you may find that your search is not coming up with any information. In this case you could try using different search facilities, or broaden your search by including new related search terms. The choice of search terms is usually the problem when a search does not yield many results and you need to try out alternatives.