Search the Literature

Scoping searches

If you are just getting started or want to get a sense of what’s been published, it's best to start with a scoping search.

A scoping search is a quick way to form an understanding of your topic. It's important to perform several of these at the beginning of your project to make sure you have a unique and well-designed proposal.

It can be used to:

  • understand your topic
  • identify major issues, themes, and methodologies
  • identify research gaps and opportunities
  • provide evidence to support your proposal

To get started, pick a large multi-disciplinary database like Google Scholar, Scopus or ProQuest, and use just a few keywords to start. Slowly add more keywords as you start to pick out patterns in the titles and abstracts. You can also use techniques like citation chaining to find additional references.

Literature searching tools

  • Literature Searching Canvas
    A brainstorming and mapping tool to guide you through developing concepts, selecting databases and resource types.
  • NVivo
    This qualitative software can be used to conduct text analysis for your literature review.
  • VOS Viewer
    A free data visualisation tool that can be used to analyse bibliometric/citation data.

Finding theses

A thesis is a research document that qualifies someone for an academic degree or professional qualification, typically for the completion of an honour's degree, a research master's degree, or a PhD.

UTS graduate research students can submit their own digital thesis to the Library.

In the Library catalogue

The Library holds many UTS theses and theses from other universities. To find them:

  • Search by author, title, topic, university, or faculty
  • Once you have a results list, select the Dissertations option in the Resource Type section on the left.

Hard copy UTS theses are stored in the Library Retrieval System (LRS). You can request access using the Library catalogue.

Theses from other universities

Many theses are available online from university and organisation portals. If the thesis you want is not available online, submit a request for an InterLibrary Loan.

Australian theses

Find Australasian Theses via Trove (National Library of Australia).

North American theses

UK and Irish theses

  • Dissertations and Theses (Proquest)
    This is the major source for theses from the UK and Ireland.
  • Ethos
    A partnership between the British Library and various UK universities to make UK theses available online in full text.


Research methods

The Library’s collection contains multiple resources on research methods including:

Finding research data

Find and reuse research datasets to build on your own research. Reusing has many benefits including reducing the cost of duplicating data collection, leading to new collaborations between data users and data creators and increasing the impact and visibility of research.

There are many tools where you can find and source research data to re-use including:

  • Research Data Australia
    Discover research data from over 100 Australian research organisations, government agencies, and cultural institutions.
    A government-run repository that provides access to public datasets from the Australian Government and encourages public access and re-use of public data.
    Re3data is a global registry of repositories that covers research data from different academic disciplines.
  • Google dataset search
    Using the familiar Google search interface, you can find over 25 million datasets.
  • Figshare
    Figshare is a popular data repository, a bit like YouTube for data.

Getting help

Librarians can assist you with these parts of the process:

  • Developing concepts from a research question
  • Systematic searching
  • Adjusting search results
  • Setting up search alerts
  • Determining the quality of academic resources

Request a consultation with a librarian.