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ACAP Pathfinder: Literature Review

Learn about the process of searching, choosing, recording and evaluating information for writing a literature review.

Recording the Search

The ACAP library Search Tracker is an excel spreadsheet which provides a template with which to plan, organise and retrieve your searches across multiple academic databases and other literature sources. 

The Search Strategies and Examples guide will help you fill out the relevant sections of the Tracker. 

We've provided some example search strings in the EbscoHost tab of the template. Note that you will not be able to replicate exactly the same search over all databases listed. 

The tracker allows you to record how you searched along with the results you retrieved so that you can replicate and document search strategies at a later date. 

Using the Tabs

Start Search: Enter your thesis statement or question at the top of the page. Links to filters (hedges) are provided to help you discover search terms. Use the PICO template to start constructing a search criteria. 

Search Results Summary: Summarise search results and comment on the effective of your searches. Or keep track of all of the database accounts you have created. 

Database tabs: Use one tab for each database you search. You can add or edit these tabs if the ones you used are not listed. We've provided some examples in the EbscoHost tab which you can remove and replace. If you need help transposing searches from databases into the Tracker please ask your campus librarian. 

Grey Literature: Use this tab to keep track of searches for grey literature. A definition is provided here. 

Key authors and Papers: Use this tab to note key authors and papers most relevant to your research. This may help you conduct more focused searches at a later time.