A literature search is the act of gathering existing knowledge or data around a topic or research question.
Regardless of the purpose of your literature search, all searches follow the same basic process:
Each page in this guide explores a different step of the process and lays the groundwork for the following steps.
E.g. "I want to learn more about treatment options available for quitting smoking."
E.g. "I need some statistics for how smoking rates have changed over the last 20 years."
E.g. "I'm designing a research study on the effectiveness of hypnosis for smoking cessation. What's been done before? What areas need further investigation?"
E.g. "I want to gather and synthesize all the existing studies that help answer the following research question: Are support groups more effective than nicotine-replacement products for helping teenagers quit smoking?"
E.g. "What treatment should I recommend to my teenage patient interested in quitting smoking?"