5. Searching and Reviewing the Literature

Reflective Exercise

Apply the approach to searching outlined in Table 5.3 to your next assignment

Table 5.3 Steps in undertaking a literature search

  • Ensure you have access to online searching, such as databases and the internet.
  • Locate suitable libraries that might support your search.
  • Become familiar with the variety of sources of literature.
  • Become familiar with the range of ‘searching facilities’ available to you, e.g., electronic resources, indexes, abstracts, websites and current awareness publications.
  • Identify key words and develop a search strategy to help you methodically and thoroughly search through abstracts and indexes using the internet.
  • Obtain the reports and articles that you want to critically appraise.
  • Record the full details and reference of the article, report or evidence, including the source and date of access.


You may find the websites listed below helpful in further developing your understanding.

Health Information Resources: www.nhsghpcat.org

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: www.evidence.nhs.uk

Social Care Online: www.scie-socialcareonline.org.uk