Step 7. Keeping Track
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 a professor, as part of the journal publication process, or even to a grant funding agency. 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|
|Web of Science||("water crisis" OR "water scarcity") AND Asia AND pollution||3,649||A lot of results, add date limiters?||Jan 16, 2016||Feb 2, 2016|
Often, databases will now have options for printing and/or saving search histories when you make an account. Take advantage of these to avoid a lot of manual tracking.
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:
For more in depth help please contact your subject librarian.