As a laboratory researcher, you are fully aware that all research follows definable steps from beginning to end. Literature research is also based on the "scientific method":
Throughout the process, you must manage your search process and its results.
1) Manage Your Results
- Record your search process
- Organize and store your resulting literature citations
- Suggested methods : Citation manager (RefWorks, Endnote, Zotero), Excel, etc
2) Choose Keywords to Form the Search Question
- Write list of all Category D or E procedures/situations in your protocol
- Develop lists of keywords based upon your protocol and the 3 R's
3) Select & Search a Database
- Select your most appropriate databases
- You will need to search more than one database
4) Construct & Run the Search Query
- Organize your keywords into a search query or statement
- These may need to be adjusted for specific databases with different requirements; each variation should be recorded
- Record this strategy - it is required for your application
5) Evaluate Your Search
- Review and evaluate your search results - did you find an adequate search result?
- If you did not, try again with different words or in a different database
6) Report Your Results
- Provide a written narrative of your results appropriate to your protocol and sources
- Describe each search performed
For a very general overview of the literature search process, please check out our online learning module, Finding Health Information.