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Research for Literature Reviews

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Finding Journal Articles

Research databases are your best bet for finding relevant articles. You will be able to find articles from journals that the TRU library subscribes to as well as ones that the library does not have full-text access to; for these, you will need to place an inter-library loan.

Your subject-specific research guide will help you find databases that are the most relevant to your topic. Databases are powerful search tools; if you are not finding relevant resources, make an appointment with your subject librarian for assistance.

Don't forget about Discover -- Discover is a great place to find a few sources quickly from a variety of disciplinary databases. However, navigating into specific databases will help you find the most relevant results and find more resources that the TRU library does not have access to, which will make your literature review more thorough and complete.

Looking for advanced tips on searching ERIC for education resources? Click here.

Advanced Search: Quick Tools

Boolean Searching

1. Use AND to combine words when you want to find articles that have both words.

Example: tea AND coffee

2. Use OR to combine words when you want to find articles that have either of the words (not necessarily both, but one or the other).

Example: coffee OR cappuccino

  • Tip: combine synonyms with OR to broaden your search and make sure that you find enough research!

3. You can combine both AND and OR to create a good advanced search strategy, either by using parentheses or multiple search bars.

Example: tea AND (coffee OR cappuccino)

Screenshot of tea AND (coffee OR cappuccino) search string in Discover with multiple search bars

Phrase Searching

Put quotation marks around phrases in the search bar to ensure that the words are searched as a phrase, not individually.

Example: "social media"

Example: "early childhood education"


Put an asterisk ( * ) at the end of words to fill in different word endings.

Example: Canad* will find: Canadian, Canadians, Canada, Canadas

Example: achieve* will find achieves, achieve, achievement, achievements

Caution: you may end up finding words that you didn't want!

Example: Chin* will find China and Chinese, but it will also find chin, chins, and chinstrap (penguins!).