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Literature searching explained

Decide where to search

There are many different types of information that may be relevant to your search purpose. You can search the Library for common information sources, such as government documents, grey literature, patents and statistics. 

Watch this video to know more about different search tools that are available to you at University of Leeds:

Subject-specific databases are the most effective way to search for journal articles on a topic, and for conducting a literature review. 

Watch this video to know more about academic journals and other types of information sources: 

Choose a database

Find the most appropriate databases for your subject

Databases help you to find a broad range of evidence, including peer-reviewed academic articles from all over the world, from many different publishers, and over a long time period.

Databases such as Scopus and Web of Science hold expansive records of research literature, including conference proceedings, letters and grey literature.

Many databases have links to full-text articles where the Library has a subscription.

Other information sources

Go to your subject-specific page to see the most appropriate information sources listed for your subject area. You may need to explore more than one subject page if your topic is multi-disciplinary.

We've also compiled some guidance on how to find common information sources.

You may find it useful to make a list of which information sources you want to search to find information for your research; a search activity template (DOCX) can help you do this.

Google Scholar

If you use Google Scholar, you can choose to show University of Leeds links in your results. Doing so will filter results and bring you back to our Library pages for sources that you find in Google Scholar. A key benefit of this is that you can access information that have been verified as worthy of inclusion in the databases that we at the University of Leeds subscribe to. Follow these instructions to set up: 

  • Click the 3-bar ellipsis to reveal menu.
  • Select the settings icon (a cog) on Google Scholar. 
  • Select ‘Library links’. 
  • Type “Leeds” into the search box. 
  • Select “University of Leeds: Check@Leeds – Check@Leeds”. 
  • Click ‘Save’.

Once complete, a link for “Check@Leeds” will appear beside any material we have access to.