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Writing a Literature Review: Phase 2: Finding Information

This guide provides an overview of the literature review and its place in a research project and contains resources for finding the information you need at APSU Library.

Locating and Accessing Information

a) Using Existing Literature Reviews
Literature reviews may already exist on some aspect of your topic. Search online databases carefully to find literature reviews. For example, the ERIC database has "Literature Reviews" as a descriptor. If, say, you are searching for an existing literature review on standardized tests, it might be productive to perform the following search in ERIC:

DE=(Literature Reviews) and standardized tests

The database PsycINFO allows one to search by publication type "literature review" in the Methodology index (ZC). Accordingly, if one is searching for an existing review on aspects of monozygotic twins, one might perform the following search (‘monozygotic twins’ is a descriptor-DE in this database):

DE=(Monozygotic Twins) and ZC=literature review
You may also use the "Limit your results" section at the bottom of the PsycINFO search screen to choose Methodology-Literature Review.
If specific descriptors or publication types are not available, you may be able to find literature reviews in any database by using a general keyword search and combining the terms "literature review" with a keyword that describes your area of interest.

b) Classic and Landmark Studies
It is usually important to comment on classic works on your topic. Not doing so might be considered a failing of your review. While it is not always easy for one not yet an authority on the subject to be aware of landmark or particularly influential works, the more one researches, generally the more one recognizes names that are mentioned over and over as seminal and/or influential authorities.

Careful research in databases will often bring to light articles that mention classic works. It may be useful to use such keyword terms as “classic” or “landmark’ in your searching of databases.

Use the resources listed in the categories at the guide below to find other literature reviews and  sources to include in your literature review.

List of Databases by Subject

Subject Guide

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Michael Hooper
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