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Need help starting your research? 

Like assistance with writing your thesis? PhD, Masters and Professional Doctorate by research students can access a range of services and resources

Literature review: overview

 Video Length: 2 minutes 11 seconds

This short video from the Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University provides a quick introduction to literature reviews.

For help completing your literature review please see the following links:

  • Record your search strategy so that you (and others) can replicate the process - this is essential for systematic reviews, but is generally advised to ensure transparency and replicability. Document search tools used, date searches conducted, search terms, any limits (e.g. year, language), and number of hits
  • Sign up for accounts with key database providers (e.g. Ovid and ProQuest) so that you can save articles, search strategies, alerts and more for later use
  • Set up alerts so that you keep up to date with material as it is published on your topic. 
  • To conduct a comprehensive search, go beyond the major indexed databases to locate grey literature
  • Manage and organise your search results using bibliographic management software such as EndNote
  • Systematic review methodology was developed for medicine and healthcare, and aspects of the approach prescribed in the discipline may be inappropriate for certain social sciences research questions. Alternatives such as that developed by the UK Social Care Institute for Excellence may be more appropriate
"Successfully retrieving relevant information begins with a clearly defined, well-structured question."

Davies, KS 2011, 'Formulating the evidence based practice question: a review of the frameworks', Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 75.

Video Length: 7 minutes 23 seconds

Developing a Research Question (Academic Skills, University of Melbourne)

The literature review: where and how to search

Some of the key search tools for Political Science:

Key multidisciplinary databases

Tips for searching databases

Use limits to refine your search

Your selection criteria/parameters will determine any limits you will apply when searching, e.g. age range, male/female, English/other languages, and/or type of study.

The limits available vary across databases. You will need to adapt your search strategy to each database (e.g. search for study types as a separate search string, rather than selecting these from a refinement option).

Capture your search strategy

Most database, including ProQuest and Google Scholar, have a Search History function.

This enables you to view all of the searches that you have performed in a search session (including any limits applied), edit and re-run searches, variously combine searches and save searches for future reference. Copy or export your search history to demonstrate the search strategy used for your review

Find theses


Why look for existing theses?

  • Ensure that your topic has not been, or is not being, investigated by another researcher
  • Gain knowledge of other related research in your area of study
  • Discover the research that has preceded your topic
  • Explore methodologies and layouts used by other researchers in your field


Have a look at our Theses Library Guide

This guide will help you to search databases to find theses, find exemplars and share your thesis through the UniSA Research.

Research methods

Research methods are the techniques, processes, system or procedure followed where data or information is created and then analysed. It is essentially the way you collect your data for your thesis.


Sage research methods


Sage Research Methods is a comprehensive online collection of resources which you can access through the Library. You can explore methodological concepts to help you design your research project, understand a particular research method or identify a new method, and write up your research. 

Video Length: 2 minutes 7 seconds


Grey literature

Video Length: 5 minutes 13 seconds