Spotlight on… Literature Searching

As we welcome in 2017, we are making a small change to our “Spotlight on” series.

This year will focus on the library services offered to you. and provides you with a little more information on what you can expect from your library team.

Read on to discover more about Literature Searching


What is a Literature Search for? technology_mix_-_final-07-64

Sometimes in your day to day work life, you may have a clinical question or piece of research you are not quite sure on how to find the answers. You may even just want the most recent articles on a clinical area.

A literature search provides you with relevant resources, articles, answers to this question.

Who may have a Literature Search? technology_mix_-_final-16-64

Any registered members of the Library Service can request a search from the team.

If you are a student, your tutors will expect you to be able to perform searches yourself. In this case a member of the Library team can provide you with a training session on how to use databases and find the best information for your search. Pop in to see us or email us to book a session.

How do I request a search? seo_planchette_questionnaire-64

Either send us an email with as much information as possible to ensure we can find the results you need, or alternatively download our Literature Search form here and return it to us.


What is the difference between a Literature Search and a Literature Review? searchicons-search-jobs-64

  • A literature search is an organised search for all the literature published on a topic. A well-structured search is the most effective and efficient way to locate sound evidence, which may be found in books, journals, government documents and on the internet.  Havard, L. (2007)


  • A literature review is an evaluative report of information found in the literature related to your selected area of study. The review should describe, summarise, evaluate and clarify this literature. It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you (the author) determine the nature of your research. Works which are irrelevant should be discarded and those which are peripheral should be looked at critically. Research Librarians, J. (2016)

How long does it take? seo_stopwatch_timer_performance-64

We aim to provide you with results in under two weeks. More urgent requests can be discussed with your librarian.

What if I am not happy with the results? message-send-sad-128

Simply speak to your assigned librarian who will be more than happy to discuss any changes or alternatives you wish to make with your search.


More information:

Poole Learning Resource Centre:

Royal Bournemouth Hospital Library:

Literature Search forms (online and printable) available from:



Havard, L. (2007) How to conduct an effective and valid literature search. Nursing Times; 103: 44, 32-33.

Iconfinder. (2016). Iconfinder – 1,325,000+ free and premium icons. [online] Available at: 

Research Librarians, J. (2016). What is a literature review? – Literature Review Tutorial – Library Guides at CQUniversity. [online] Available at: 


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