Information Literacy: Tools for
Undertaking a literature search
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• Six weekly sessions designed to introduce you to
many of the library tools you need for your research
• Classes include:
Introduction to literature searching
Going Beyond Google
Finding theses, conference papers & further research
Primary sources: news, official publications, data, archives
Managing Information
Next steps and keeping up to date
• Supported in Moodle where you’ll find activities,
resources, PowerPoints, a discussion forum
Today’s class objectives
• To start your literature search and find
material on your research topic:
Devise appropriate search terms
Access a range of library databases
Find materials not at LSE
Consider how to manage your sources
Compile a short list of relevant published
materials on your thesis topic
• A foundation for the future sessions
Planning a search
Image: board from Netskills quality Internet training, University of
How to plan a search:
-define topic, scope and keywords
-structure your search
-choose information sources
-perform your searches
-review your results
© Netskills Quality Internet Training, University of Newcastle
Search terms
• Analyse your thesis topic – what are the key
• Define keywords
• List any synonyms
• ‘The effects of television violence on children’
Television/ TV /adverts / DVD etc
Parental control? Peer pressure?
Crime? Psychological?
Still undecided on your topic?
• Brainstorming:
• List all the keywords which could describe your topic
• Identify synonyms & alternative spellings
• Formulate a ‘research question’
Are they any key papers already published?
Any key authors?
Hot topic or dead duck?
Run a quick search in a database (e.g. IBSS) to
scope material
Plan your research - what type
of information do you need?
• Journal articles, books,
• Conference reports?
• Government reports?
• Very recent material?
• Historical?
• English language?
• UK or International?
• Peer reviewed or
Practitioner, Trade,
• Statistical Data? Our
Data Library team can
• Archives?
• Web or other sources?
• Citation searching?
Find what’s out there - don’t just restrict
to LSE holdings
The Internet is….
• A fabulous source of information, and full of
information that can be used in place of
books and journals.
• However, there are problems….
• There is no central index
• There is no quality standards or peer review
• Information can:
• be moved or removed without warning
• be wrong, out of date and biased
• be overwhelming!
Why not just use the web?
• Much medical & scientific information is freely available
but other areas lag behind
• No quality standards or peer review
• Information can be moved / removed without warning
• Information can be wrong, out of date, biased
• Information overload
• Doesn’t show the whole picture of books and journals
• Can point to commercial versions of databases you
can’t use - but we have access to them via LSE
• Won’t include information from databases such as
IBSS, Lexis
You may be missing out on crucial information
Journal articles
• Library Catalogue – journal title level
not articles
• Full text online journal databases e.g.
Oxford Journals, JSTOR but only
limited to what is available in full text
on a specific databases.
• If only searched full text services would
miss out on literature.
Identifying books / printed materials
• LSE Library Catalogue
• Printed bibliographies/indices
• Search other Libraries catalogues
• COPAC: Large research Libraries, including the
British Library
Library of Congress
National Library catalogues for overseas materials
WorldCat (via catalogue/subject pages)
Catalogues of specialist Libraries e.g. Wellcome Library
Websites of specialist organisations
• Exercises 1, 2, 3
• Locating books and journals using
Catalogues such as COPAC.
Getting hold of material not at LSE
• Senate House Library - can borrow materials and use
online resources
Show your LSE card
• British Library & BL Newspaper Library
Join with 2 forms of ID (proof of address & proof of signature)
All titles to be consulted in the BL Reading Rooms
• SCONUL Access Scheme-Access and limited borrowing
from most UK universities (no access to online resources)
Form from the Help Desk
• Specialised libraries e.g. the Wellcome Library for Health
check what ID is required
• Overseas Libraries may require a letter of introduction
• Inter Library Loan
Via Library Catalogue. Select Requests & Interlending
Can request books, theses or journal articles
• Recommendation form
Recommend the Library purchases a book
Search tips for databases
AND &, + – combines terms. Narrows results
OR , – locates results containing either of the
terms. Use ‘or’ for synonyms. Useful for US/UK
Spellings. Broadens results
NOT – excludes terms. Discards results that contain your excluded
term (even if the results contain your chosen search term)
Phrases – enclose in quotation marks “third way”
Proximity – WITH, SAME – locates results in same sentence or
Truncation – replaces multiple characters at the end of a word e.g.
pension*– finds pensioner, pensions, pensioned
Wild card – replaces a single character organi?ation – locates
either spelling
e.g. wom?n finds woman and women
wom* finds both along with womb, wombat, womble etc.
Check help pages for the correct symbol. Can be * ! + $
Subject headings & Thesauri e.g. MeSH
Key general resources
ISI Web of Knowledge
PAIS International
Business Source Complete
• Extensive index to scientific, technical, medical
and social sciences literature plus arts &
• Abstracts and citations to peer-reviewed
research literature and quality web sources.
• Over 18,000 titles
• 20 million pre-1995 records, 20 million 1996• Links to full text articles via Article Finder
• Searches can be saved to rerun at a later date
• Results can be exported into EndNote
• Citation alerts
IBSS: International Bibliography
of the Social Sciences
• Premium Social Sciences Index- references journal
articles, books, chapters and book reviews.
• Links to full text articles via Article Finder
• Based at LSE so journals more likely to be in stock
• Good foreign language coverage
• Results can be imported into Endnote
• Searches can be saved to rerun at a later date
• Date range: 1951• Updated Weekly
ISI Citation Indices via the Web
of Science/Knowledge
• Science / Social Science / Arts & Humanities
• Abstracts and references to journal articles
• Links to full text articles via Article Finder
• Results can be exported into Endnote
• Searches can be saved to rerun at a later date
• Citation alerts
• Contains ISI Conference Proceedings database
• Exercises 4,5 & 6
• Searching for journal literature using
Scopus, IBSS, ISI social science
citation index
Managing information
• Get organised early on!
• Choose your tool – many options:
EndNote Web
References in word / paper format?
• Strengths and weaknesses of each
• Have you used any of these before?
• What do you think of them?
Quick overview of EndNote
• Available on all networked PCs at LSE
• Using Version X.4
• Available off campus via the Remote
• Imports records from Library Catalogue
and some databases
• More in week 5….
For next week
• Over the next week carry out searches
in some of the databases we have used
today using your key words
• Which databases did you use?
• Did you have any problems?
• Did you export any records to EndNote?
Good luck!

Undertaking a literature search