My top tips for a new PhD student, on literature searching
Here is an adapted excerpt from some recent correspondence with a new PhD student at Warwick:
If I were you then I would start by building your list of places you wish to search...
...then look at the keywords you wish to use,
...then start searching in earnest.
Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to do all of this!
Do be organised so that you can refer to your records at a later stage, and set up accounts and alerts as you go along so that you don’t have to do the same searches over and over again.
Do also record places that you choose not to search and why, and keywords that you choose not to use, and why.
There is often a strange, panicky moment when you think you’ve discovered a new source of information or search strategy, a year or two down the line… and then it turns out that you did know about it but had good reasons not to use it then which might still apply or not, as your research evolves.
It’s quite easy to forget what you did at this stage so recording things is important: you’ll probably find your own system for this, although we suggest some useful methods at the RSSP workshops for PhD students: