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Conducting a Literature Review

Tracking Your Search Strategy

Research is a strategic activity.

  • Once you have a topic to explore and research strategy (keywords, where to search etc), it helps to keep track of your search activities and results.
  • Keeping a record on paper or electronically allows you to see patterns in your approach that may help develop further approaches and your final hypothesis. 
  • Some databases (OVID) and indexes (Pubmed, Medline, ERIC) allow you to save your strategies electronically.

 Whether written or electronic it is essential to take note of things such as: 

  • what terms have you used, as well as any searching techniques such as truncation (e.g. nurs*)
  • any limiters applied, e.g. date or geography
  • how many results retrieved
  • how many of the results were relevant

You may wish to keep a record using a document such as the Search Log below. 

Tracking the Results

You may find it helpful to use a research grid (see below for an example) to track critical features, distinguish what reviews have similar topic focus, and note the similarities in research results. 

  • Noting these patterns will help you write the review and learn to skim the literature on a topic quickly.


Database  Terms Study Type Question Population Methods Results Implication for Practice Analysis Citation
Program Resources
Research Aids
College Services

A-Z List of Databases

Business Plans & Case Studies

DNP Project Digital Repository

Faculty Resources

How to Access Other Libraries

Library Homepage 

Mobile Apps 


News & Current Events

Reference Service Policy


Video Tutorials

Black History & Culture

Clinical Practice Guidelines

DNP Research Support

Evidence Based Practice

Florence Nightingale Resources

General Education

History of Nursing 

Literature Reviews

MBA Healthcare

Nursing Classification

Nursing Programs

Nursing Theory



APA Style Writing & Citation

ChatGPT & OpenAI

Copyright & Fair Use

COVID-19 Resources

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources

ESL Resources

Evaluating Online Sources

Legal Resources for Healthcare

Maps and Data Sets 

Research Tips & Techniques

Research Tools & Instruments 

Statistics & Data Sets

Student Success in Online Learning

Understanding Scholarly Research


Code of Conduct

Financial Literacy


Post University Blog

Student Center

Student Services

Writing Center