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Research Methodology (Computer Science)

The Point of this Guide

This guide was created to help you search for literature more thoroughly and efficiently. Learning how to review literature will not only help you with your research project in this class. The skills you will develop will aid you in providing a proper literature review for your theses.

With this guide, you will be able to

Some Reasons that I Should Look for Academic Literature

  1. Don't recreate the wheel.
    If researchers have already completed the work that you will be doing, you could pick up where they left off instead of doing exactly what they did and coming up with the same result. Just be sure to cite their work. They worked hard on their project and they deserve credit for it.
  2. Don't waste your time.
    If researchers tried the work that you want to do using the same methodology or conventions that you would use and were not successful, you could save valuable time by reading this literature. Learn from their mistakes and find a better way to successfully achieve your goal.
  3. Strengthen your ideas using evidence.
    When you find papers, books, and other scholarly literature to support your ideas, your ideas are stronger since others support what you found. It is the same idea as the peer review process in publishing. During the peer review process, an expert in the field will read your work to determine if it is plausible. Papers that goes through this process tend to viewed as more academically sound.

Don't Know where to Start with your Research?

Subject or Course Guides are a great place to go to find out about a subject.

ZipSearch is a good place to start. It searches several of our databases and catalogs simultaneously. Don't use ZipSearch for in-depth research.

thumbs upGood use – Find one article to review for a class project.

thumbs downPoor use – Perform a background search for your thesis.

Use the databases directly for in-depth research on a topic. If you know exactly what book, DVD, etc. that you want, use the UA Libraries Catalog directly.

*Images provided by Microsoft Clip Art

How do I Find a Specific Article?

Do you know where the Article is (what journal, conference, volume, pages, etc)? Use the UA Libraries Catalog. opens new window

Need a Specific Article that Can't be Downloaded and is not in our Library? Try

How do I Find Articles on a Topic?

Want to perform a more thorough search than ZipSearch? More about ZipSearch on this Webpage. Use the Articles & Books using Databases page in this guide. Use the descriptions to find the databases that contain articles that are most closely related to your topic.

Where should I start? Try the following

How do I Find Books on my Research Topic?

First, use the UA Libraries Catalog. opens new window If we don't have it, try the OhioLINK catalog. Use the button in the UA Libraries Catalog.

Example of ordering a book from OhioLINK

A networking approach to grid computing from the OhioLINK catalog
  1. Use the Request Button
  2. Choose “U of Akron” as your school
  3. Enter your UANet ID, password, and pick-up location

If OhioLINK does not have it, try SearchOhio. Use the button in the OhioLINK catalog. If neither have it, try to order it from interlibrary loan.

Sometimes it is convenient to search electronic books directly particularly when looking for quick facts or code syntax.

Some Literature Review Tips

  • Use more than one database and don’t limit yourself to one format because
    • you will not find all articles in one database and
    • articles alone will not give you all the information that you need about your topic.
  • use keyword and subject searching to find more information. There are pro and cons to each type of search, such as
    • Keyword searches are better than subject searches when
      • there are incorrect subject terms or
      • it is a newer topic with no subject terms yet.
    • Subject searches are better than keyword search when
      • the author uses different words to describe your topic for various reasons (e.g. author is from a different discipline than you), and
      • when there is variation in spelling, such as British versus American English.
  • If you have too little or too much information, you can adjust your search and try again.

  • Do you have no results? Probably, your search is too narrow. Try using
    • less terms,
    • broader terms, or
    • common terms used by authors in the field for your topic.
  • Do you have too many results with many irrelevant? Probably, your search is too broad. Try
    • adding terms,
    • excluding irrelevant, or
    • using more specific terms.

    You will probably have a mixture of broad and narrow searches.

  • Sometimes you can find more information by noticing who is publishing in your topic
    • Are there authors that have produced many papers in your topic area?
    • Are there organizations or research institutions that are affiliated with many of the authors that produce papers in your topic area?
  • References within papers of interest can provide leads to more papers.
  • Keep track of searches that you have tried and save the ones that are most effective.
  • For long term projects like a thesis or a senior project, you must keep up with what others are publishing in your topic area. Try
    • Table of Contents alerts,
    • RSS feeds, and
    • database search alerts.

    They will save you time.

  • Use a reference manager to store and format citations.

Is there Help when Formatting and Keeping Track of References?

Try a reference manager. All reference managers have advantages and disadvantages. Mostly, it is a matter of preference. For more information about reference managers, go to

How do I get an Article from Interlibrary Loan?

Using the Request through interlibrary loan hyperlink.

When you use the Full Text Finder button from one of our databases, the Request through interlibrary loan hyperlink could be the only one that appears. Some databases will have this hyperlink listed directly on the search results. In these cases, you don't have to select the Full Text Finder button first.

Either way, the form will partially fill out for you. Be sure to check the information is right – The more correct the information you give them, the faster you will get the article. After you select the hyperlink, you will need to log on using your UANet ID and password.

Getting your Article

Interlibrary loan will get the article for you if they can. If they can get a copy, you will get an email when your article is ready. If they can't get a copy, you will get an email letting you know as well.

Filling out the Interlibrary Loan Request Form

If you did not find your article from a database and we do not have it, fill out the interlibrary loan opens new window form. An example of how to fill out the About my item section when requesting an article is

Journal Title: *

Journal of Nanoelectronics and Optoelectronics

Published Date:






Page Numbers: *

260 - 264

Title of the article: *

Nanocrystalline GaZnO films for transparent electrode to silicon carbide

Author of article:

Jungho Lee, Ji-Hong, Kim, Kang-Min Do, Byung-Moo Moon, Ji-Hoon Lee, Sang-Mo Koo







Where did you learn about this item?