The Road Ahead – Literature review

Appendix B: Search strategy used for the literature review

Our primary search strategy was to conduct a database search, using the following database search engines:

Search engine Total number of hits using key search terms given below Number tagged Hard copy obtained
IBSS (BIDS) 92 3 0
ASSIA 189 42 8
British Education Index (covers ERIC and CIJE) 1,246 64 15
PsychInfo 352 8 8
CareData 177 64 22
Medline 215 50 3
CINAHL 253 35 2
Cochrane Library 63 0 0
Dissertation Abstracts 77 4 0
SSCI 90 39 2
Sociological Abstracts 32 6 4
ZETOC 38 4 4

These databases were chosen to reflect the widest range of literature available, and because they were held in electronic form by the University of Bristol library. The following databases were not searched as they were not available through subscription to the University of Bristol or were in print format only: HIMC, SIGLE, Social Work Abstracts, NASW Clinical Register, Social Services Abstracts, Wilson Social Science Abstracts, Campbell SPECTR.

The key terms used for the search were as follows:

Search terms
Transition AND Young disabled people
Young people with learning difficulties
Young people with learning disabilities
Families of young people
People with intellectual impairments
People with mental retardation
People with intellectual disabilities

Out of the total number of hits per search, a number of records were tagged or marked according to the following inclusion criteria:

Abstracts, where available on-line, were then sought for the tagged references. These were scanned in respect of the above inclusion criteria, and a decision made about whether or not to obtain a hard copy of the full article or reference. Some references were not available to download and were not available in journals held by the University of Bristol. In these cases, it was not possible to order all of these through the University's inter-library loan service, due to a lack of time and financial resources.

In addition, a separate Google search on 'transition and young people with learning difficulties' revealed additional sources, including a reading list produced by the Virginia Commonwealth University ( ). Three references were marked and hard copies obtained from this source.

The Norah Fry Research Centre has a well-stocked library and searches were made for material relating to transition and young people with learning difficulties, producing 37 additional pieces of literature. As the review progressed it was also necessary to specifically seek out particular references to illuminate points or to clarify issues. The Norah Fry Research Centre library was used for this purpose, although additional references were not logged in terms of numbers obtained.

Once obtained, references were read in full and evidence extracted in respect of a number of emerging themes relating to the topic of transition to adulthood for young people with learning difficulties. A 'source document' was produced which summarised evidence from each reference under key theme headings. This document was used as both the basis for developing the list of themes which we shared at an early stage of the review with a range of key commentators and organisations in the field of learning difficulties, and as the 'raw data' for the full review of the literature presented in this document.

Not all of the literature obtained was referenced for this review. Only those items from which we quoted, or made direct reference to, are given in the references section.