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Keeping up to date

Discover simple ways to keep up to date with information in your field.

If you're embarking on a significant research project, it's essential that you have strategies in place to keep up to date with the latest publications and current research in your subject area so that you don't miss out on what's new in your field.  

Most academic databases are updated daily, but you won't have time to regularly re-run all your searches. The good news is that there are simple techniques you can use to make online resources do the work for you.

Search alerts

Most databases offer search alert options. These enable you to store searches and set them to run again at regular intervals. Any new records which match your search will be delivered to you at a frequency specified by you, usually by email or newsfeed. Options and instructions vary from database to database, and in some cases, you might have to set up a separate account, but it is well worth the effort.

360 degree searching

When you find a useful resource, it is good practice to look through the bibliography to see if that will lead you onto other relevant readings. This allows you to look backwards in time at the research and ideas the author used to develop their work.  360 degree searching or 'cited reference' searching takes this idea further by allowing you to look forward in time from this point and see how research has developed from this work. Databases such as Scopus and Google Scholar provide ‘cited by’ options that allow you to explore a list of more recent publications that have cited the original publication (i.e., they have listed it in their bibliography).  This method gives you a fully rounded (360 degree) view of the research in this field prior to and following the article you have found.

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