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Tips and Tricks for Literature Searches

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Surfing the internet has become mandatory in the times we live in and education has been one of the beneficiaries of this advancement. With the limitless information available on the internet about any one topic, there is a need to develop a few tricks in order to achieve the desired results. When using electronic databases for research, thoroughness, as well as precision, is the most important element to look out for. The vast resources provided online do not make it easy for finding relevant information. However, time saving tricks should be adopted in order to ensure that research is carried out fast and most efficiently.

There are several tricks employed that should save time in navigation of the internet and ensure accurate and relevant results are used for the desired purpose. The first trick is to find a reputable search engine that has access to millions of data. One such search engine is Google whose database is practically limitless in terms of information regarding any topic. The search engine is primarily designed to help the researcher find anything they want to know on the internet. On Google’s home page, there is a search bar that allows the researcher to type in the query that they need to research about.

The second trick is to understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is designed to rank information according to the relevance of the topic in question. For example, the query about subcontractors and government contract defaulting could be an easy topic to conduct research. The researcher has to type in the keywords such as ‘government contractors’ or ‘subcontracting government contracts’. These keywords allow the search engine to list the most relevant articles or information regarding the keyword in question. The sequence in which the results are listed depends on the number of visits a website has received and the rating it has received from its users.

The third trick pertaining to precise information gathering for electronic databases is the use of scholarly articles and online libraries. For example, Google scholar contains only information that has been verified as scholarly material and can be used for academic purposes. The scholarly materials on a topic like subcontractors failing to honor contractual obligations are listed according to the relevance. Google scholar shuts out any other speculated information except that which can be used for pure research.

The fourth trick for finding relevant information that can be used for finding relevant academic literature is by visiting websites that have the ‘dot education (.edu)’ domain. Websites that have the dot com domain are mostly full of general information as news alerts and trends in the field of research. However, dot edu websites are hosted by educational institutions such as universities and colleges. These websites are rife with juicy and well researched academic materials. For example, the well renowned universities such as Harvard and Yale have scholarly articles and sometimes research papers on a given topic. As long as the institution of higher learning has a faculty in the research topic that the researcher is interested in, then there is bound to be relevant and up-to-date information that can be used for academic purposes. It is in these websites that figures such as tables, graphs and relative comparison techniques can be found in great detail that can greatly assist the researcher in finding optimum and precise educational materials.


Berman, R., & Katona, Z. (2013). The Role of Search Engine Optimization . Marketing Science, 32(4), 644-651. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from the Informs Pubs OnLine database.

Smashing Magazine. (2010, March 10). Smashing Magazine. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/03/19/showcase-of-academic-and-higher-education-websites/

Waller, V. (2011). Not just information: Who searches for what on the search engine Google?. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(4), 761-775.

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