A few years ago library lists that were accessed from a remote computer offered only the titles of books and articles. Subsequently the lists of articles began to include an abstract of the entries' contents. More recently, the lists have provided complete journal articles for certain entries, enabling an investigator, at home or in the office, to read articles in detail without needing to have the journal itself in hand. It thus has become possible for researchers at home to reproduce with their computer-printer a copy of an entire article or of selected segments.
The purpose of surveying the professional literature is to improve the quality one's own research by discovering what other investigators have done in the area of one's interests. In this chapter I have suggested that literature searches are rendered more efficient if they are guided by code words that identify at which junctures in a research project citations from the literature will be most useful. In recent years, the rapid development of personal computers and of computer networks that provide access to libraries' holdings have greatly enhanced the ease, speed, and comprehensiveness of literature reviews.
1. Which words and phrases will be useful in directing my search of the|
List key words and phrases derived from the statement of the|
List useful related terms that can also guide the search._____|
2. Into what segments or sections will my study be divided? What code word|
will I use to signify each part?
List code words and the part of the final research report that each|
|3. How do I plan to survey the professional literature?|
|_____Visit libraries to locate books and journal articles.|
|_____Write to authors to request lists of relevant publications.|
|_____Write to authors to request offprints of their articles.|
|_____Conduct a search of library holdings from a remote location by|
|means of a personal computer equipped with a modem.|