That Time I Learned How to Conduct Better Lit Review Searches…

As one of the conditions of the 5-year PhD fellowship I received upon acceptance to my program, I have to complete two years of research assistantships (and then teach or TA three classes). Of course, my life being my life, I’m a bit out of order and am working off my last RA this year. As it turns out, every time I’ve RAed for someone, I’ve been responsible for starting the literature review. And every time I have – *breaks into uncontrollable sobbing*


Anyhoo, this time, my RA advisor (who also happens to be my dissertation advisor) asked the obvious:

Is there a reason why you’re using Google Scholar?

And I mean, of course I answered with incomprehensible babbling about how I know the library has its own databases but why search all those separately when I can just Google it? No, I can’t explain why the results numbers change every time I advance through the pages. Of course I can’t tell you how Google goes about ranking results. Yes, I am concerned, though…

Then he suggested the obvious:

Well, why don’t you go talk to the librarian?


sisko facepalm

The really sad part? I LOVE librarians. They know so many awesome and helpful things.

So I went to talk to our school librarian. And he gave me all of the awesome help. Just in time, too, because I’m supposed to be presenting a lit review of my own at a big fancy conference next month.

Thank you, Librarian Paul!

(I should have taken an usie ‘cuz then I could insert it here.)

I’ve already pulled together my learning, along with some helpful links from the interwebs, into this handy dandy guide for using Google Scholar. Tl;dr? Don’t. Well, do, but only sorta. Why? Well, download and see.

Lit Review Search Tips

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