Literature search strategies

The literature review provides both the foundation and the frame for your own research. The literature review:

  • Demonstrates that you know the field. 
  • Justifies the reason for your research.
  • Allows you to establish your theoretical framework and methodological focus. 

Its preparation requires careful planning and knowledge of various theories and methods underpinning literature searches.

Aim of course

After the course the participants should:

  • be able  to develop and validate protocols for conducting literature searches
  • be able to select appropriate search strategies
  • be able to evaluate search strategies and search results
  • have the skills to handle bibliographic references in reference management software 

The course focuses on which sources to search, how to plan the search process, how to design the search strategies. Furthermore, the course will address how to manage the references and how you document and report the search process. The course includes use of the medical bibliographic databases and reference management in EndNote.

Format: The format of the course is a combination of lectures and practical exercises.

ECTS-credits:  0,7

Course director: Professor WSR, Department of design and communication, Tove Faber


 9.00-9.15 Welcome to the course 
 9.15-10.30 Introduction to doing literature searching
Unsystematic vs systematic literature searches
Search strategies (block building strategies and pearl growing strategies)
Search techniques (boolean logic, proximity search)
 10.30-12.00 The use of thesaurus (major and minor terms, tree structures)
A selection of key bibliographic databases (may change depending on the specific participants):
• PubMed
• Embase
• Cinahl
• Scopus
 13.00-14.00 Evaluation of search strategies
Evaluation of search results
 14.00-16.00 EndNote
Adding references to your database
Attaching files
Cite while you write
Sharing references
Style manager


Aveyard, H. (2019). Doing a literature review in health and social care: A practical guide. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Course fee:
The course is free of charge for PhD students enrolled in Universities that have joined the "Open market agreement" 
For all other participants the course fee is DKK 2119,32,-