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Best Practice for Literature Searching

For the sciences of food and health

About this guide

An effective literature review is always built on the foundation of a high quality literature search, one that is comprehensive and systematic. For any new project, a literature search is a crucial early step in the research process. Finding some literature on a question is usually easy; finding the right literature, and all of the most relevant literature for a solid literature review, is harder.

Through explanatory notes and practical, step-by-step guidance, we aim to help you understand how to effectively plan and carry out your literature searches.  

Author & Editor

Carol Hollier, IFIS' former Senior Information Literacy and Outreach Manager


Dr Helena Korjonen, University of Luxembourg
Dr Mina Kalantar, Food Research & Regulatory Consultant

Peer reviewers

The guide has been reviewed by the FSTA advisory board comprising eminent researchers worldwide in the sciences of food and health. 

Who is the guide for?

Anyone undertaking research or supporting others in their research activities:

  • Students, those new to research, and those who need a refresher in literature searching.
  • Researchers who wish to use a template when planning their literature searching.
  • Librarians who support faculty and students in literature searching.
  • Trainers who teach information literacy.

Feedback from the community

Your Guide is simply superb.  Many thanks for a great resource which I will be promoting with advanced stage degree students in food science agriculture and veterinary medicine here in UCD.  It is the best guide I have come across in some time so many thanks for this "Toolkit".  This will be invaluable for UCD - Students, those new to research, and those who need a refresher in literature searching.  

Carmel Norris, College Liaison Librarian, School of Agriculture & Food Science, University College Dublin, Ireland


I reviewed the LibGuide site. I think it will be really useful for students who need to do literature research.

Professor Vural Gökmen, Food Engineering Department, Hacettepe University, Turkey


I found helpful information in the literature search guide which helped me to find many food science articles relevant to my honours project.

Asgiri Jayasekara, Student, University of Adelaide

Tell us what you think

We plan to update this guide regularly as resources and techniques evolve. Please feel free to tell us what you think or to suggest additional material. Get in touch with us at