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Research Services

Scoping

In order to complete a successful literature review, scoping a project is often the most important step. Properly scoping a project in its early stages will ensure that the project runs smoothly and that little time is wasted. Scoping can determine:

  • Search strategy and methods
  • Resources to be searched
  • Inclusion & exclusion criteria
  • Time required to complete the project
  • Types of sources gathered
  • Search & Screening tools required 
  • The format of delivery

Considerations When Scoping A Project

Scoping a project requires you to consider many different aspects of the project and your goals. As librarians, we need to know this information in order to help you most effectively. 

  • What question should the literature review be addressing? What is your research question? This question should be narrow and specific. A question like, "What is the effect of climate change on human behavior?" is much too broad for one project to answer. A more appropriate question might be, "How do homeowners respond to increased coastal flooding?" 
  • Who are you doing this for? Consider the audience and outcome of the product you will create with the literature review. The information collected may change based on the needs of the end user.
  • Is the publication date of an article important to your research? Different projects may require articles from different date ranges. We can provide a wide or short range of articles depending on the needs of your project. Think about whether your research question might, for example, benefit from looking at only the last five years of research.
  • What information sources would best address your research question? Consider whether you are only interested in peer-reviewed journal articles or other types of material, such as book chapters, gray literature, theses, and conference papers. Also consider whether your research question would benefit from looking at information from specific agencies or journal titles.
  • What keywords are associated with your research question? Please consider providing terms that address all aspects of the question, which could include methodologies, geographical terms, and species names.