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Literature Review: Literature Search

What is a literature search?

Literature Search

A literature search is a systematic investigation of catalogues, databases, and websites for the purpose of gathering information, or literature. Literature can consist of books, journals, articles, newspapers, conference and government papers, or ephemeral material (posters, flyers, mail outs, etc).

Literature searches are performed as the basis of student research to understand a topic and support ideas and analysis when writing essays and assignments. In academic writing, a writer needs to "back up" or prove or discuss and, analyse their theories using the evidence outlined by experts in their field. A literature search is the discovery of this evidence.

How to do a literature search

How to do a Literature Search using the Library Catalogue

To conduct a literature search you will need to search our library catalogue, our databases, and Google scholar. 

  1. Begin by establishing what you want to know. Create a list of keywords and phrases to search. You can gather some keywords by doing some preliminary research on the subject using Google. 

Example Research Question:

When was feminism in film established in the Australian region? 

Keywords: Femisim, film, film industry, Australia, Oceania, 

         2. Search the library catalogue using your keywords. Try using different combinations of the words for different results. 


       3. Record any bibliographic information about a source that you may want to read. Note: The title, author, publication date and location of where the source can be found. 


Articles in Databases

How to do a Literature Search using the Databases

  1. Visit the library homepage. and select the Databases button.  
  2. Read through the different database options available to you. Note: Different databases will hold different information. 
  3. Log in to the database you have selected using your Moodle credentials. 
  4. Using your previous keywords - use the Advanced feature of the database search bar to search for your information. Note: You may wish to narrow your search to 'Full-text articles only' and 'Peer Reviewed Journals'.
  5. Record the bibliographic information of the articles you wish to access.