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Finding scholarly and industry information for your literature review


This guide will provide you with some key starting points to find a range of literature for your literature review. Check your assessment details for further information.

Why is a literature review important?

The purpose of a literature review is to discuss what is know about a particular topic area or question. It should identify, classify and evaluate relevant literature already published by other researchers.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Identify existing literature relevant to your topic area. Interpret, compare and evaluate the main ideas present. Summarise current knowledge, contrasting ideas and any gaps.

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Developing your research question

For this assessment you need to develop a research question that is clear and answerable.

To help you get started

  1. Pick a topic area of interest e.g. aviation safety and drones
  2. Conduct some initial searches to learn more about the topic area including key issues. The Library Collection search or Google Scholar can be useful places to start.

Library collection search showing "aviation safety" drone

  1. Focus your topic area into a research question.
    Ask who, what, when, why and how questions to focus your ideas. For example:
  • Who does this impact on? Commercial airlines? Pilots?
  • Why does this matter? Safety, accidents etc...
  • What can prevent this? Systems, technology? How?
  • When should they be used?

More help

Struggling? For more in depth help use:

Plan your search

Once you have focused your topic area into a focused and clear research question consider what terminology you can search with.

Example research question developed:

"What systems best protect commercial airports from recreational drone incursion?"

This is important as researchers can refer to ideas and terminology  in difference ways across the literature.

What to consider

  • Synonyms or alternative keywords e.g. drone OR unmanned aerial vehicle
  • Plurals or word variations e.g. protect OR protection
  • Common acronyms e.g. UAV
  • Different spellings e.g. aeroplane OR airplane
  • Splitting phrases e.g. "drone incursion" versus drone AND incursion

You may have already found some terminology (keywords) from your initial searching. It can useful to map out or table these to organise your search approach. For example:

Main concepts

Other terms (synonyms or alternative keywords)


program, software, technology etc.

protect protects, protecting, protected, alert, detect etc.
commercial airports commercial airport / airline / aviation industry / airplane etc.
drone drone, unmanned aircraft, UAV etc.
incursion infiltrate etc.

Tip: Look at the terminology used in titles, keywords and abstracts and add them.

Joining keywords into a search strategy

Choose where to search

Besides searching the Library Collection search and Google Scholar consider searching:

Key databases

Industry sources

There may be others of relevance depending on your question.

More help

Applying your search

It is recommended that you also search for relevant academic (scholarly) literature using Library databases.

Depending on your research question you may not need to search on every concept. 

ProQuest Technology Collection

This collection includes the Advanced Technology & Aerospace and Materials Science & Engineering Databases

Search example

  1. Choose the option to search Anywhere except full text.
  2. Start by typing each different concept into a new search field. Connect with AND.

Tip: Use double quotes to search for exact phrases.

  1. Add any synonyms or alternative keyword to broaden your search scope. Connect these with OR.

  1. Use the * symbol to find word plurals and stems. This is known as truncation.

  1. Select search. Use the left menu to limit your search further..

CAPA: Centre for Aviation

This database is part of the Aviation Week Network and provides access to news briefs, analysis reports, research publications and company profiles.

Search example

  1. There is no advanced search, so try a simple search using the basic search using some of your keywords.

  1. Select search.
  2. Use the all content drop down menu to limit your search by format type.

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