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PSC 480: Fall 2022

Conducting a Literature Review

Strategies for Effective Searching

1. Consider employing 'Zotero' or the "My Folder" feature in particular databases to track your progress & organize your thoughts... or go old-school and create a spreadsheet


2. Search for scholarly articles using my database recommendations (next page)

3. Try the same search again, within the same database, this time using synonyms or related terms (often a built-in thesaurus)

  • Can you get more specific? Can you look at specific politicians, policies, dictatorships, or countries?

  • Use OR in between synonyms and use quotes around specific phrases "US-Taliban Relations"


4. Repeat your search in other databases, mixing and matching keywords/subjects

5. Look at the keywords or subject terms listed in one good article for hints on how to proceed

6. "Cite forward" in Google Scholar or Science Direct for further sources

7. Citation mine using the references in newer articles

  • check Journals Available to see if we have access to specific journals that contain the articles you find


8. Order unavailable articles using Interlibrary Loan

9. Meet with a librarian if you're struggling

10. Organize your findings in some meaningful way: chronologically, geographically, topically/thematically, or methodologically