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Literature Reviews for Media, Communication and Information: 3. Refine Your Search Strategy and Topic

A guide to getting started with literature reviews in media, communication and information (CMCI).

3.a. Refine Your Search Strategy

Review articles relevant to your topic. When you find a very relevant article:

  • Add the article to your citation manager (e.g., Zotero, Mendeley, etc.) or download the article by clicking on a link such as “View Full Article,” “CU Full Text,” or “PDF Full Text.”
  • Review the article's title, abstract, and keywords or subject terms. “Keywords” or "subject terms" are like hashtags that describe the article's main themes. What words does the article use that you should add to your search?
  • Does the database show articles that cite or are cited by your article? If so, can you access those articles?

3.b. Refine Your Topic

As you research your topic, refine your research question. Reflect on the following questions:

  • What have you learned about your topic?
  • What research has not been done on your topic?
  • Is your topic too broad or narrow?

APRD, Media Studies & Journalism Librarian

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Stacy Gilbert


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Elizabeth Novosel