Documenting your research from beginning to end is an important part of the process. The steps you took to conduct your research need to be able to be replicated.
For example, you may be asked to present the keywords or search strategies you used to find your resources to:
Other times, you may be looking for a specific way of organizing your citations in one place when you are doing research in many databases.
Regardless of the reason, keeping track of your research and the steps you took to complete it is always important.
When keeping track of your searches, you want to ensure you are writing down the following pieces of information:
An example search history may look like the following:
|Database Searched||Search Terms + Limits||Number of Results||Comments on Results||Date of Search||Next Search Date|
|Compendex/Engineering Village||("energy efficiency" OR "energy conservation") AND "cloud computing"||3,633||A lot of results, add date limiters? Add database terms?||February 10, 2021||May 3, 2021|
Often, databases have options to save search histories when you make an account. Take advantage of these to avoid a lot of manual tracking.
Staying current on the latest scholarly work in any discipline can be time-consuming. Fortunately, most databases offer an alert feature that informs you about new articles (or other publication types) on a specific topic. These services generally require you to create an account, conduct/save a search and then select either email or RSS as the delivery method.
To track the resources you are finding in your searches and are relevant to your research, consider using a citation management tool. A citation management tool will help:
UBC Library supports the use of RefWorks, Mendeley, and Zotero through the Research Commons. Workshops and consultations are available should you have questions about using these tools. Choose the right citation management tool for your research.
There are other tools available or that you may already be using.