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Literature Reviews

This guide is designed to help you get started researching and writing literature reviews.

More Search Tips

Boolean operators include the terms AND, OR, NOT

  • AND is used in most databases to ensure each term in present somewhere in each result. This limits your search and will result in fewer, but more relevant results.
    • Example:
      • NextGen AND flight
  • OR is used to indicate either term is acceptable. This expands your search and will result in more results. This may be needed when similar terms describe the same idea
    • Example:
      • aircraft OR airplane
  • NOT is used to indicated terms you want excluded from your search. This limits your search and will result in fewer, but more relevant results. This may be needed when individual terms may describe different ideas or when using a general search term that encompasses many different concepts.
    • Example:
      • "air travel" NOT commercial

Database limiters are tools available in many databases that provide options to narrow your search results.

  • Examples:
    • Content Type or Source Type - allows you to choose results from only journals, only books, only newspapers, etc.
    • Discipline - allows you to view results specific to individual academic disciplines
    • Full-text - allows you to limit your results to view only items available in full text 
    • Publication Date - allows you to limit your results to a specific range of publication date
    • Publication Title - allows you to limit your results to a specific journal, magazine, newspaper, or other publication title
    • Peer-reviewed (Scholarly) - allows you to limit your results to only items that are from scholarly or peer-reviewed journals
    • Subject - allows you to choose what the information in the results will be about

Quotation marks are used to indicated the terms enclosed in the marks must be searched as a phrase. Use quotation marks when searching multi-word concepts.

  • Examples:
    • "human factors"
    • "unmanned aerial systems"

Truncation is used to include variant endings of a root term. Use truncation when there are various spellings of a term or you want to search to include variations on a term.

  • To use truncation, type the root of a term and then use the truncation symbol: * (asterisk) 
  • Some databases may use other symbols, such as !, ?, or #
  • Examples:
    • refuel* = refuel, refueling, refueled
    • child* = child, children, childless 

Wildcards use symbols to substitute for one or more letters of a word. Use wildcards when searching a term which may have different spellings or for terms that may change meanings with variant spellings.

  • Examples: 
    • a?rplane = airplane, aeroplane
    • col?r = color, colour

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