Finding Relevant Scholarly Research for Literature Review: How can we be systematic?

On an average, it takes 15 clicks for a researcher to find an article (which may or may not be related to their research topic) online. This time is not productive because it does not help them gain any knowledge and it could potentially be spent doing something more vital in fostering research and development. Moreover, as most researchers rely on two to three databases to find information for their literature review, the time to find relevant scholarly research data also increases.

Navigating Through Multiple Scholarly Databases—Is it even necessary?

The Internet has revolutionized the way we access information. Websites and online resources within and outside of academic bibliography are significant resources of literature. However, the challenge in searching and managing the results is undeniable.

Considering the exponential growth in scholarly research data and literature, finding relevant information and reporting your research sooner is imperative. While Open Science has been a positive reform of information access, not all data is available at a click, let alone the relevant one. Researchers fear the possibility of missing out on critical information related to their research topic or accidentally committing plagiarism. Hence, they spend time in toggling through multiple scholarly databases.

In this process of searching for literature on multiple databases, researchers tend to download irrelevant information too. Furthermore, the probability of finding similar resources on multiple databases is higher if the resource is on an Open Access platform. These downloaded papers not only occupy the space in reference managers but also make researchers spend a lot of time deciding whether the paper is worth reading or not.

5 Major Challenges Faced on Multiple Scholarly Databases—How to overcome them?

Finding scholarly research data involves navigating through institutional login pages, subscriptions, and paywalls. Apart from the time, effort, and money spent there are several other challenges that researchers encounter while searching literature on multiple scholarly databases.

Here we discuss 5 major challenges faced by researchers while using multiple scholarly databases:

1. Identifying and Deciding the Resources to Search

The Internet provides information in numerous formats, viz. journal articles, preprints, video recordings, podcasts, infographics, conference proceedings, etc. This wide pool of knowledge gets deeper with advances in scholarly research and literature. Hence, while finding research data on multiple scholarly databases in multiple formats, it becomes difficult to identify and decide the resources to download based on their relevance to the research topic. However, these resources can be easily traced if they all are on a single platform.

2. Search or Navigate Resources Correctly

Researchers use keywords and questions to find scholarly data related to their topic of interest. Databases search for the exact words and phrases. Hence, if researchers use a different word or a synonym that describes the concept, the search results are not relevant. If a single database with optimized keywords is used to access billions of scholarly resources, it not only avoids information overload but also allows navigation of relevant information.

3. Assessing Obtained Search Results

Information overload makes it difficult for researchers to assess every discovered resource. One cannot decide the relevancy of search results based on the research paper’s title. And reading all sections of all papers—abstract, introduction, results, and/or conclusion—will be extremely time consuming. Furthermore, spending time reading these sections of papers to later find out that it’s not related to your research topic will not help anyone. So, what if there was a tool that could search results beyond keywords using research ideas, questions, etc., and also could summarize the key aspects of each downloaded resource? Definitely something to ponder about.

4. Deciding Which Literature to Select and Cite

Scientists are often overwhelmed with the scholarly research data they find online. It is a never-ending task to decide which literature to select and cite. Thus, it is essential to download only relevant data and assess them based on their relevance to the research topic. Furthermore, citing the literature accurately by following journal-specific guidelines and writing style guides will avoid accidental plagiarism. Such cumbersome tasks can be handled with accuracy using an AI-based tool particularly designed to make academic research and publishing easier.

5. Retrieving Relevant Literature in an Accessible and Editable Format

The inability of some software to save, process, and/or retrieve data in all formats is displeasing in this age of digitization. Hence, scientists prefer software that allows accessing, downloading, managing, and editing research data files in all formats.

How to Find Scholarly Research Data with a Systematic Approach? – 7 simple steps

Given the amount of intelligence on the internet, it is only wise to resort to a reliable system. One which is smart, efficient, precise, accessible, and affordable to integrate the scattered information, help researchers through every step of research reporting and publishing, and save time, effort, and money.

A simple 7-step systematic approach to find relevant scholarly research data

  • Search literature based on research ideas, keywords, conference talks, author details, etc.
  • Assess the found resources based on their key aspects and findings.
  • Search, save, manage, read, and annotate relevant literature on a single platform.
  • Use easily accessible and editable formats.
  • Cite the literature to avoid plagiarism.
  • Follow journal guidelines and format the research paper.
  • Connect with co-authors and share your work with them for insights and edits.

An extensive and accurate literature search is the key to performing, reporting, and publishing authentic research. A systematic single-platform search database provides a much better comprehension of insights of the research topic. It helps draw comparisons faster as all results are saved and managed in one place! Moreover, it helps researchers to stimulate the interpretation of ideas, analyze shortcomings, and recognize opportunities of future research.

With advances in technology, this process can be simplified without compromising the quality of the final product. As Artificial Intelligence takes over other realms of society, it’s about time researchers leverage these advances to further streamline research publishing.

What are your ways of literature search? How many databases do you have to use simultaneously? Wouldn’t you want to have all your work on one platform without remembering several login IDs and passwords? This sounds like the future of publishing! What do you think?


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