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Literature reviews: Health: Other ways to search

For level 6/7 students

Look at the 'check your progress' box at the bottom of this page to make sure you have completed all the steps for this stage of your search

Searching by other means

You have to search for literature in a database search to demonstrate that you know how to search comprehensively for literature. You can search for additional articles using other means - this shown in the top right hand box of your PRISMA flow chat.

It's fine to use articles you come accross in other ways as long as the results are additional to the ones you have found through a thorough literature search in a database.

Other ways of searching can include articles mentioned on social media or in an blog, reference lists, browsing in journals and articles mentioned in books - as long what you are using

See the checklist at the bottom of this page to ensure you have gone through all the necessary steps to move on to the next stage.

Backwards searching

                            Use the reference lists in the most relevant articles to find older pieces of research. Add the number of articles you open and consider to your top right box in your PRISMA, even if you don't ultimately use them in your literature review.

Forward searching

                            Citation searching allows you to find who has cited a paper since it was published, and can be a good way to find up to date primary research.

You can do this in databases such as SCOPUS and Web of Science (access them through the A-Z of resources under mySearch in Brightspace). You can also do this in Google Scholar, but this gives you less information and functionality.

Check your progress

Stage of your search Things to remember
Have you checked references in your articles?
  • Remember your date range still applies so don't spend time on literature that's out of date.
  • You only need to look in the reference lists of articles which are really relevant to your research question.
Have you used other means of searching?
  • Have you tried citation searching with some of the older articles which are really relevant to your question?
  • Have you looked in journals and in other online sources - but make sure the results you find are primary research.