Where can I do a literature search?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

When it comes to conducting a literature search, there are several databases that can be very helpful. Two of the most widely used and respected databases are Scopus and Web of Science.

Scopus is a comprehensive multidisciplinary database that covers a wide range of subjects, including the humanities, social sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, and health sciences. It includes a vast collection of scholarly journals, conference papers, books, and patents. Scopus also provides citation analysis, which allows you to see how many times a particular article has been cited by other researchers. This can be a useful tool for identifying influential authors and subject areas within your research field.

Web of Science is another popular database that covers a broad range of disciplines, including the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. It includes a vast collection of scholarly journals, conference proceedings, and books. Like Scopus, Web of Science also provides citation analysis, allowing you to track the impact of particular articles and authors.

Both Scopus and Web of Science offer advanced search features that allow you to refine your search query and narrow down your results to find the most relevant articles for your research topic. You can use Boolean operators, such as AND, OR, and NOT, to combine search terms and make your search more precise. Additionally, both databases allow you to save your search results and set up email alerts for new publications that match your search criteria.

While Scopus and Web of Science are excellent starting points for literature searches, it’s important to note that they may not cover every single journal or publication in your field. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to supplement your search with other databases and resources that are specific to your discipline. For example, if you are conducting research in the medical field, you may want to consult databases like PubMed or Embase, which specialize in biomedical literature.

In addition to these databases, it’s also worth considering other sources of literature, such as Google Scholar. While Google Scholar may not have the same level of comprehensiveness and advanced search features as Scopus and Web of Science, it can still be a valuable tool for finding scholarly articles and books, particularly if you are looking for open access or freely available resources.

Conducting a comprehensive literature search involves using multiple databases and resources to ensure that you are capturing as much relevant literature as possible. It’s also important to keep in mind that literature searches can be an iterative process, and you may need to revise and refine your search strategy as you go along.