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Finding relevant sources from the library or the internet forms the most fundamental and most indispensable aspect of carrying out a study. Two major problems encountered when carrying out a study are: not knowing where to find relevant materials and how to retrieve them from the sources. A study consists of two major parts, that is; brainstorming and the study itself. The first step in locating sources requires one to know the kind of information he requires and the place where he can access the information. To develop an effective working bibliography requires one to be conversant with the library sources both in electronic and printed form and use of reference systems to find the sources. It is required that during the early phases of a study one should make sure he develops a tracking procedure that will ensure all bibliographic information from the sources is maintained (Markel, 2008).
Also constructing a list of experts for instance of well known author and lecturers in the area of study is significant in ensuring you get relevant and up to date information about the study one wants to carry out. These experts can be contacted for instance through oral interviews or through e-mails. A recommended search strategy requires one to consider how his topic of study progresses through research documentation lifecycle. One approach in this strategy requires one to look for reference sources that are currently accepted in the desired area of study and try to find out people (experts) who have cited them in recent years. This strategy will help one to develop a tree like network that will be vital in locating relevant research materials and in showing how works of others are interrelated (Markel, 2008).
Locating and reading at least abstracts of papers will help one to classify the relevant papers by topic and the author's interest in the topic. This will help one to look for newer reference papers. This strategy is very important because different databases classify sources differently or can use different descriptors as key words (Markel, 2008).
In cases where one finds himself with too few sources because the topic is too narrow, he should try to find out terms or topic headings any newly found information was classified under. This will help one to employ those key words in other data base searches. If this fails to help one get enough sources for the study, he should seek help from the library personnel and experts in the field and find ways of expanding his topic in order to get more sources for the study (Weisberg, 2006).
If in the process of locating sources one finds too many of them, he should put down a strategy to cut down sources that he can manage. For instance one should emphasize taking journals that are specific in the area of study because they are considered as the best reference materials for carrying out any study. One can get experts' assistance on where to get important reference sources for the study. It is also required that one should classify the sources so that he has the best idea of the kind of information he wants. This will help one to retrieve only sources that are critical to the study and to avoid being overwhelmed by many materials that are interesting and related but not so critical to the study (Weisberg, 2006).
After locating all relevant sources the final step involves synthesizing the information from the sources and summarizing it into a coherent literature for the study. This calls for accurate and critical analysis of information. This calls for skimming of articles and books to determine which sources are useful and in what context.