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Study Skills

Wolfson College Academic Skills: Literature Searching

Help with finding, managing and using information from the Wolfson Library Team.

One of the more important activities you will do as a student and researcher will be to search for and manage the information and resources you will need to do your work. On this page you will find some tips and videos to help you develop an effective search strategy. Have a look at our "Spotlight" videos to become familiar with a few of the academic databases available to you as a student at the University of Cambridge as well as our "Find out more" which contains further resources for you. 

Top tips

  1. Establish the key terms in your research question or writing prompt.
  2. Spend some time thinking of alternative words for your search terms.
  3. Use Boolean Operators to help widen or narrow your results.
  4. Keep a record of your searches to know which ones were more effective and to avoid replicating old searches.
  5. Set alerts on databases or Google Scholar to keep up to date with new material on your topic.

Below you will find a series of videos to help you develop an effective search strategy. Beyond Google: Introduction to Literature Searches will introduce you to some of the best practices to conduct a literature search and keeping a record of you search terms. Our Spotlight videos introduce you to several academic databases available through the University of Cambridge as well as how to get the most out of Google Scholar. You can view the videos in full screen by selecting the "Full screen" option on the bottom right of  YouTube video once you have pressed play.

How to

Try it out

Find out more


Unless otherwise stated, this work is licenced under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence by Wolfson College Cambridge.

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