How to Write Up Your Search Strategy in Your Thesis/Dissertation

How to Write Up Your Search Strategy in Your Thesis/Dissertation

Dr, Niall MacGiolla Bhuí Senior Editor, TheDocCheck.Com

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I’m often asked by clients, how does one show an examiner the research strategy undertaken for a particular study? This varies significantly from University to University and from College to College dependent on level of study, academic department and the individual wishes of an allocated research supervisor but, in the main, there are several things required across academic systems.

You’ll need to state the electronic databases you accessed, the timeline you used, the language, inclusion and exclusion criteria, word searches and phrases, books and articles. Let’s say you are writing a health management Thesis and you are looking at the area of ‘ankle surgery and patient experiences’. Thus, it might look something like this in your Thesis.

“A detailed search strategy was developed and revised appropriately for the following electronic databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, Health Business Elite, Emerald, Medline and Embase via Ovid for the time period 2010 – 2015, using English only text from estabished peer- reviewed journals. Due to the lack of academic articles in the areas of ankle surgery and patient experience, a wider search strategy was undertaken using more general terms such as ‘patient experience’ and ‘quality’ to identify studies for inclusion in this review. This was then reduced based on duplications, year (2010-2015), language, setting, quality (peer-reviewed) and relevance. The search strategy combinations of key terms and inclusion and exclusion criteria are stated in Appendix 1. The researcher also reviewed relevant academic books, organisational publications and ‘grey’ literature. A summary table and critique of the 37 reviewed articles identified by designated terms is included as Appendix 2. All sourced articles are included in a summary table.

If you write up like this, it’s a good start…

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