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Literature Review: Organize the materials

Tips and tools: Keeping a search log

Compiling your pool of research articles is an extensive project that will go on for a considerable amount of time. To keep track of all the searches that you've already done -- and remind yourself of searches that you wish to go back to -- keep a search log.

You can create your own search log, using any software or method you choose. Think about the information you wish to keep track of. We recommend including the fields shown in this example -- but you may think of other fields as well.  

Sample search log

Search Terms Results Notes

"business culture" AND "human resources" 
limited to FT, peer review,
after 2004


"business culture" not a good search term
in ABI/Inform

  Business Source Complete 

"business culture" AND "outsourcing"
published 2007-2012, peer reviewed

  55  suggested terms include "contracting out" 


Citation management software

Reference Management Software can help organize your resources -- you can download citations into the software as you discover them in the databases, and then organize them in folders, create bibliographies, and more.  

Wikipedia provides a useful comparison of reference management software chart that compares the many different software packages available. Some are free, some charge an annual fee, and features vary by package, so it's worth investigating them before making a choice.

One reference management software option is Zotero. Zotero is free to download and use , and it offers many of the features that other packages have.

Walden University Library does not endorse or support Zotero. We may be able to answer basic questions about Zotero, but encourage you to explore Zotero's Documentation and Support page and user forums for the best advice and tips on using it.