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Engineering -- Literature Reviews: Getting Started

This guide provides an overview of different types of literature reviews

Search strategy using keywords

Choosing Keywords to narrow or broaden your topic

If your topic is too broad, you may want to narrow it topic by identifying keywords that will limit your search by Age, Sex, Gender, Geographic Information, etc. If your topic is too narrow however, you may want to use broader headings and generalize them.


For example: What is the environmental impact of the disposal of plastic bottles?

Thanks to LMU/LA for content:

Starting your research

Using the keywords from your search strategy, use the "Find Books" and "Find Articles" tabs to search for scholarly resources.

  • If you are looking for books, search the library catalogue to find new and current material on your subject
  • If you are looking for articles, search the multi-disciplinary databases or specific databases in your subject area to conduct your search
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary sources

Tips on searching:

  • Use key boolean operators like "AND" (to combine terms), "OR" (to distinguish between related terms or synonyms), "NOT" (to omit a term)
  • Use parentheses (), called "nesting," to combine more concepts. For example: (teenagers OR adolescents) AND (beliefs OR attitudes) AND alcohol
  • Shorten, or truncate, a keyword by using symbols such as "*" or "?". For example, canad* will retrieve results for the words Canada, Canadian and Canadians
  • Use quotation marks to search two or more search terms as a phrase (e.g., climate change-use quotation marks (" ") around the whole phrase "climate change") to ensure the words are searched for together as a phrase
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