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As part of the Research Scholar Program you'll need to create a good quality literature search. This will form the basis for your subsequent research proposal and literature review.

This guide highlights resources that will assist in these areas, arranged in these sections:

Creating a Literature Search Strategy

Crafting a good search strategy is the key to preparing a literature review that is well informed.
Deakin University Library’s Advanced Search Health guide steps you through the process in these stages:

  1. Develop your search
  2. Choose your databases
  3. Run - refine your search
  4. Document your search
  5. Screening your search

The Library has also developed Health Postgraduate Advanced Literature Searching modules. The modules are more in-depth and interactive than the Advanced Search Health guide, so offer another option for learning the skills of systematic literature searching.

These stand-alone documents will also be useful for creating a search strategy:

The PRESS 2015 Guidelines Evidence-Based Checklist provides guidance for checking elements of a search strategy. The checklist is most useful once the search strategy is nearing completion.

Managing Literature Search Results

Making use of reference management software in your literature review process will keep you organised and make citations easier, saving you time. This software allows you to collect citation details, organise them into groups and insert them into a Word document in the appropriate referencing style.

EndNote X9 logo

Deakin University has paid for a licence that allows staff and students to use the full version of EndNote.
Visit the Software Library to download the full version of EndNote.

Have a look at the Library guide to EndNote for step by step advice on using EndNote from beginner to advanced levels.

We also have advice on exporting large numbers of search results to EndNote (PDF), which may be required in a literature review.

Other sources of help for EndNote include:

Note that unless otherwise advised, referencing in assessments should comply with the appropriate Deakin referencing style.

Other options for reference management software include:

Support for these products can be found at the following:

Appraising Individual Papers

Papers selected for possible inclusion in a literature review not only need to be considered for relevance to the research question but also need to be assessed for reliability. This is the process of critical appraisal.

The Library’s Brief Guide to Critical Appraisal contains more details on the process of critical appraisal.

Critical appraisal tools exist to help with this process. These can be in the form of checklists for indicators of a study's quality, or as a collection of questions designed to prompt examination of the paper.

There are several sources of critical appraisal tools, including:

  • CASP (Critical Appraisal Skills Programme)
  • JBI (Joanna Briggs Institute)
  • CEBM (Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine)
  • SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network)
  • BMJ Best Practice

Research Data Management

Research projects generate data. This is defined as:

“… information that has been collected, observed, generated or created to validate original research findings" (University of Leeds)

Why plan to manage research data?

  • It improves version and quality control
  • It saves time accessing data
  • It makes it easier to share and preserve
  • It reduces the chance of loss or corruption of data
  • It may be a funding or privacy requirement

Go to Deakin’s Manage Data site for more tips and tools for preparing a data management plan.

Deakin RDM guide

Writing a Research Proposal

Writing a research proposal is an important part of the research process. The following resources aim to assist in this crucial planning stage.

Sage Research Methods is an excellent source of practical information for planning and conducting research projects. While the size of the database is significant, the following sections are of particular help for the creation of a research proposal:

There are also many eBooks in Sage Research Methods, with the following being relevant to the creation of a research proposal:

Outside of Sage Research Methods, other sources include:

Writing a Literature Review

As part of a research project an effective literature review not only demonstrates an understanding of the context in which the research sits but also informs the researcher’s approach to their own research.

Sage Research Methods is again a good source of information for writing a literature review:

Other selected sources of information on writing a literature review include:

Deakin’s Academic Skills guides may assist with writing the review. Guides include writing in academic style and English for Uni. Students can also contact Study Support for personal assistance.

This guide has been intended to feature resources that will be useful for the assessment tasks in the Research Scholar Program.

Content on this guide was compiled by the Medical Librarian. For questions or feedback please contact