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Theology and Religion: Literature Searching

Subject support from Library Services for staff and students in Theology and Religion

Effective literature searching

Whether you are getting ready to write an assignment or embark on some research, you will need to take a systematic approach to finding information. This process is sometimes referred to as a 'literature search'.

Before starting a literature search it is important to be clear about what you are being asked to do. Define your search both in terms of the keywords and phrases you need to use and the timeline you need to cover. Depending on how many results your search returns, you may need to refine your search strategy.

Make sure you know how to use bibliographic databases for your subject as they will contain useful features to help you with your search.

Our skills guide to Effective Search Techniques will help you further.

Search Tips

Most electronic resources allow you to use boolean operators to combine keywords and phrases. The operators used are:

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT

This handy Venn diagram illustrates how using boolean operators will affect your search results.

Top Tips to Spot 'Fake News'

ZETOC

Zetoc

Zetoc is a current awareness service created by the British Library and it gives access to over 29,000 journals and more than 52 million article citations and conference papers, from 1993 to present day. Zetoc is updated daily and it covers all subject areas.

Zetoc Alert

Zetoc Alert is a current awareness service that sends you email alerts matching the search criteria that you have provided whenever new data is loaded into the database. The searches may be for particular journals, for authors and for keywords from the titles of articles and papers.

For more information go to http://zetoc.mimas.ac.uk