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Literature searching can be a frustrating experience.  It's easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information available, and yet hard to find relevant reliable information to support your research needs.

You will be aware of the potential impact of missing relevant research, including wasted time, wasted investment and even risks to consumers.

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 Whether you need information to:

  • Develop new products
  • Track trends
  • Maximise nutritional benefits
  • Improve sensory, mechanical and/or functional properties 

or for something else, you need the information you base your decisions on to be up-to-date and trustworthy.

Through explanatory notes and practical, step-by-step guidance, we aim to help you understand how to effectively plan and carry out your literature searches. This guide will teach you how to design a search that captures all the literature you need, then leverage that search to continue delivering the updates you need.

This guide is also available to read on LibGuides.

This guide is designed specifically for researchers working in industry. For guidance optimised for academic researchers and students, take a look at our Literature Searching Best Practice Guide


Contents of the guide

About this guide

The Search Process

  • Steps for a literature search

1. Where to search

  • Where to search
  • Databases
  • Search engines
  • Academic search engines
  • Researcher platforms
  • Wikipedia

2. How to build a search

  • Process for creating a search strategy
  • Good search strategy
  • Identifying search concepts
  • Search matrix
  • Boolean operators
  • Phrase and proximity searching
  • Truncation and wildcards
  • Saved searches and alerts

3. Paper acquisition

  • Screening results
  • Getting full text for free
  • Copyright considerations

4. Critical appraisal

  • What is critical appraisal?
  • Practicing critical appraisal
  • Evidence hierarchies
  • Additional critical appraisal checklists
  • Documenting critical appraisal decisions

5. Managing references

  • Benefits of citation managers
  • Citation managers and writing
  • Sharing PDFs
  • Comparing software

6. Additional resources

  • Best practice recommendations
  • Templates
  • Other training resources