Welcome to Day 1 of the Literature Review Challenge!
Today we will look at what comprises a literature review, as well as approaches to ramping up our literature search skills.
In a nutshell, a literature review brings together a range of relevant works on a topic, and is intended to:
Although a literature review tells a story, the research process that goes into that storytelling is nonlinear. There are likely many lines of study/angles/perspectives on your topic(s). In this vein, a literature review is iterative and ongoing. Look at a few examples, plus additional insights into the recursive nature of literature searching, here: https://libguides.library.umaine.edu/lit/reviews.
Some Places to Find Literature (plus caveats!)
Keep in mind! Databases are like streaming services...
Each streaming service is a bucket of shows that you’re subscribing to or may be interested in...
And, not only is there overlap in each bucket - some shows on Netflix might also be on Hulu - there are also unique shows in each service. Databases work the same way! This is why we have to look in multiple places to get a good sense of our topic.
Your Challenge (and It's Twofold!)
Try One (or Two!) of the Following Advanced Search Strategies in a Database Related to Your Work, in order to find relevant literature in your field.
Then, Try One (or Two!) of the Following Advanced Search Strategies in a Different Database. Note what works or doesn't, and any questions you have.
1. To get started, review these key search strategies that represent ways to expand or contract your results to get a better, more tailored picture of what may be out there on your topic.
2. Next, select two of the database options from the Some Places to Find Literature (plus caveats!) section above (i.e., OneSearch, or a database or two relevant to your subject area, or URSUS, or Google Scholar via Fogler), open those two databases, go to the Help menus if they have them (usually at the top right of the screen), and identify those databases' advanced search techniques. For OneSearch users, run a search and then click on the three horizontal lines at the top right of the page for a dropdown menu that includes a link to Help.
3. Then, use one (or more!) of those advanced search strategies in a couple of different databases. For example, see how your search results change when you use AND, OR, and NOT, and try a proximity search strategy if you're in one of our subject databases or in OneSearch! Determine how you might further focus your search if you're overwhelmed by your results, or expand your search if you're not getting enough results. Consider whether the two databases you chose provided sufficient results, or if there are other approaches to researching your topic(s) that might work even better.
And, of course, reach out with any questions!
Optional, Awesome BONUS Challenges
BONUS Searching Challenge: Google Hack Your Research Topic! Spend some time playing around with some of the Google hacks below to see what you can find on your research topic.
There are many ways to strategically search Google, in order to conduct more complex searches and focus your results. In the above example:
BONUS Access Challenge 1: Install the URSUS Libraries Proxy Bookmarklet! Whereas Google Scholar via Fogler is great for finding a range of full text content on the open web, it is not adept at getting you to everything you might have access to via Fogler Library, like eBook chapters in our large eBook collection, online conference proceedings, and even articles that Google Scholar can't find but Fogler Library can (that's right, Google has its limitations!). However, the Proxy Bookmarklet allows you to quickly and easily access subscription journal articles and other electronic resources you find when doing research outside of the University's website. For example, if you are doing your research via Google, and you find a link to a resource that is only available for a fee, the bookmarklet will reload the page through the University's proxy server and provide you with full text access to the resource if we subscribe to it.
Install the Bookmarklet - it's a cinch! Go to the Proxy Bookmarklet page - it's a quick, two-step drag and drop!
How to use the URSUS Libraries Bookmarklet
BONUS Access Challenge 2: Create (or Reactivate) Your Interlibrary Loan Account! It's likely that Fogler Library doesn't have a copy of everything you'll ever need for your research and creative projects. However, we'll go to great lengths to get you what you need, from other libraries across the country and throughout the world. And, Interlibrary Loan is free! Go to the link above and click on 'For the First Time User' to set up your account, so that you can request books, articles, chapters, microfilm, videos, and other material we don't own. Already have an account but forgot your password? Go to the link above and click on 'Forgot Your Password' to reactivate your account.
Congratulations on Completing Day 1 of the Challenge (and a Final Note)
Congratulations on completing Day 1 of the Literature Review Challenge! But wait, there's more! There are myriad additional strategies to explore, like:
If any of this piques your interest, or if you'd simply like an expert sounding board, we have subject librarians ready to brainstorm with you regarding your research and creative interests. Please reach out - we'd love to connect with you!
5729 Fogler Library · University of Maine · Orono, ME 04469-5729 ; (207) 581-1673