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BIOL 696

Library research tips for biology masters students.

Stages to Literature Review:


  • What is the research topic? (see the Topic tab to learn more)
  • What are its component issues?

Search Strategy (see the Search Strategy tab)

  • Identify all possible key words, synonyms, MeSH Terms
  • Decide where to search / which databases (see Databases tab)
  • Determine the best types of documents and materials to include and stay up to date on newly published materials by creating alerts (see About Alerts tab)
  • List all inclusion and exclusion criteria for materials

Literature Search

  • Review titles and abstracts
  • Identify materials that make the most significant contributions to the understanding of the topic 
    • use cited linking tools and cited reference searches (see Databases tab to learn more)

Make adjustments

  • Evaluate the results and make any necessary adjustments to your search plan

Gather all remaining materials

  • Classify and organize materials (see Mendeley tab) according the type of research methodology / study design, etc...

Analysis and Interpretation

  • Discuss the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature
  • Discuss the progression of the research on the topic 
  • Discuss the relationships in the literature (methods, procedures, analysis, conclusions, etc...)
  • Develop your own ideas related to it