To be confident you have something to add to the body of existing knowledge in the area and to put your ideas in the wider context it is important to be aware of other published work on the topic. You must demonstrate this understanding to readers and you then need to reference previous work appropriately.
To conduct a literature search for evidence of previous work published on your topic there is a range of support available depending on your experience.
How to search the literature effectively is an excellent learning resource providing step by step guidance to finding information and developing your skills - suitable for all levels of experience, you can complete the whole set or dip in and out to refresh your knowledge.
Quality assuring the articles (qualitative and quantitative) you find is important to ensure you do not quote an irresponsible source. Critical appraisal skills enable you to identify research articles which are sufficiently well-designed to inform practice. Some guidance is available here. NHSS Librarians are also happy to help
Creating your bibliography and reference list for your article is important and you should do this as you go along not wait until the end.
It is also important to organize your notes and references as you go along to avoid plagiarism. With new software, it is now possible to check text to see if it has been published before, and many publishers automatically screen submissions this way using products such as Crossref.
Plagiarism is considered one of the three cardinal sins of publishing for scientists, along with fabrication and falsification. It is also unacceptable to reuse your own previously published work without obtaining copyright permission or using appropriate referencing.
To learn more about avoiding plagiarism look at some of the modules available from The University of Edinburgh or The University of Glasgow. For broader information not just related to academic writing, visit the Plagiarism.org website which includes advice on re-using videos and other media. To learn more about copyright visit the Copyright Toolkit available through the Knowledge Network.