Identifying important concepts
There are three stages to finding literature for a literature review: planning, searching; and finding. A literature search is not just a single database search – you will need to look for different ideas, and perhaps in different places depending on what you are looking for.
Before you can start to search for literature, you need to know exactly what you are looking for. By planning out your search now it will save you a great deal of time in searching later.
You then need to determine what the underlying concepts are and then think of all possible words that express this concept, so that you do not miss any relevant work. These are your KEYWORDS.
Some words in your sentence will be redundant because they are another way of expressing the same concept, or they can be determined from reading the actual material. For example “novel methods” – search for every type of method, then decide which are novel by reading the item.
Make a note of both British and American spellings of words as you will need to use both in your searching. For example behaviour and behavior.
If there is a particular group of words that are always used to describe a particular concept, treat them as a phrase – this means that you only want results where the words are used together in the given order. For example “special needs”.
Use truncation to use a single term for related words that express the same concept. The truncation symbol is usually * or $ - the ‘help’ for each database should tell you. For example “optim*” will find optimise; optimised; optimising; optimal; optimum. It will also find all the American spelling of these words.
‘Are children with special educational needs really included in mainstream education?’
Keywords for concept of SEN:
Keywords for concept of Inclusion:
Keywords for concept of Children: