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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

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Faculty Resources

How to Access Other Libraries

Library Homepage  


News & Current Events

Reference Service Policy


Video Tutorials

Black History & Culture

Clinical Practice Guidelines

DNP Research Support

Evidence Based Practice

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