This forms the foundation of the paper, and provides the context for interpretation. It ensures that what you are studying adds value to existing literature.

Literature searching requires a systematic approach
  • Searching for literature in a systematic literature requires learning. Searching correctly, will save you time and improve the quality of your paper. 
We have put together a tutorial on how to search for literature; we strongly recommend that you go through our tutorial. 
  • A large search retrieval is not necessarily a good search. In fact, it may mean quite the contrary. For instance, in Pubmed, if you search 'Parkinson's Disease and India', you get more than 380 results. These will contain articles on the topic, as well as articles that are not on the topic, but simply contain these words. The tutorial will show you how to find only articles that are about these terms. It will also guide you on which information resources to look through, depending on the information you are looking for.
Look for references before, during and at the end of your study
  • Before you begin your study, you will need to look at other studies on the same subject.
  • You need to continue looking up references as you proceed with your paper for any new information you may want to look up.
  • At the end of your study, go through references again, to check on updates on the subject and double check references you have already gone through.
Where to look
  • Sources of information include databases, journals and reference lists. 
  • Identify references from the list of references/further readings in the list of papers/reviews you go through.
  • Search for articles directly from journals of your area of study.
Organise your references
  • Maintain an organized way of storing references right from the start.
  • You can use reference management softwares such as Zotero or Mendeley.
  • Sort references before adding them to your reference manager, adding only ones that are relevant.
How to cite
  • Cite only if you have read the paper.
  • There are different formats for citations; check the 'instructions to author' section of the journal you are writing to. Here is an example of a common way of citing a research paper: 
Author's last name, initials. Name of the paper. Name of the journal. Year of publication; volume no.(issue no.):first page-last page. 
E.g., Duggal, R.Private health insurance and access to healthcare. Indian journal of medical ethics. 2011; 8(1):28-30.  
  • Other forms of citations have been covered in greater detail in the citations section.