IS 6363: Digital Forensics - Systematic Literature Review (Choo)

Tips on conducting literature and systematic reviews in Computer Science and Cyber Security


The purpose of this guide is to provide guidance on conducting  review of research articles on a selected topic to help you:

  • Understand the difference between literature review vs. systematic review.
  • Identify relevant keywords and construct effective search statements.
  • Use advanced features of UTSA databases and Google Scholar to run searches. 
  • Formulate selection criteria for research articles and methodology for your review.
  • Utilize citation managers to export, organize and cite relevant articles.

Google Scholar - Get Oriented

Google Scholar is a good starting point to begin your research, assess how much is already published on your topic, and identify keywords and synonyms to expand your search. 

It covers scholarly literature, including journal articles, scholarly book chapters, works from institutional repositories, pre-prints, conference proceedings, as well as patents and legal opinions. It does NOT include trade journals or magazines.

Google Scholar Off Campus

To ensure that you have access off campus to full text provided by the Libraries, establish your affiliation with the UTSA Libraries. Click the link for instructions:

Google Scholar Search Tips

  • Word order matters
  • Use quotation marks "search phrase" to search words next to each other
  • AND is already implied in the search algorithm, but you may use AND to combine concepts. It slightly changes results.
  • Use OR to add synonyms and expand your search.
  • Google Scholar ignores parenthesis ( ) for grouping.
  • Filter by Date on the left hand menu.
  • Click on Cited By in a result to see additional articles that cite this article.
  • Go to Advanced Google Scholar search by clicking on the menu icon in the top left corner > Advanced Search. 

Search Example

Start simple and then improve by applying " " operators and adding synonyms. Put OR statements first.

"digital forensics" OR "cloud forensics" AND IoT

UTSA Databases

Google Scholar searching is not sufficient for a systematic literature review. Database searching is required for these reasons:

  • Proprietary subscription content not available or not accessible in full text for free on the Web
  • Rich metadata and powerful search with more comprehensive and precise results and full text access

Search functionality differs among databases, but generally you can expect support for: 

  • Boolean operators AND to combine search terms, OR to expand results, NOT to exclude
  • Wildcard * (or other symbol) to allow stem searching for variants of a word, e.g. crim* would search for crime and criminal
  • Parenthesis ( ) to group search terms
  • Quotation marks " " to search keywords next to each other
  • Limiting searches to TITLE, ABSTRACT and other fields 
  • Limiting by date, type of publication (e.g. research article vs. conference proceeding vs. trade journal, etc.)
  • Exporting to citation managers

Specialized Databases

Publisher Databases

Full-text and Indexing Aggregators

Required Textbook

Required Text

Recommended Book

PRISMA 2020: Guidelines and Checklist for Systematic Reviews

Examples of Literature Review Articles

Review these articles suggested by Dr. Choo for methodology and overall approach to analysis and presentation.  Listed keywords are supplied in the article metadata.