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Literature Reviews: Home

How to locate literature reviews.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a work of discursive prose that provides a critical account of the existing research and explains how this research is significant to the topic you are studying.

Purpose:

  • Provides the reader with a summary of the most important scholarly literture in the field.
  • Provides information on the current state of research.
  • Explains contrasting perspectives and viewpoints and current controversies on the topic.
  • Identifies significant researchers in the field.
  • Identifies primary methodologies used in researching in this field.
  • Identifies areas of the field that require further research.
  • Explains how the research you are doing fits into the larger research picture.

 

A Literature Review is NOT:

  • A summary of each article OR
  • A descriptive list of what has been written about the topic

How to Locate Literature Reviews

Literature reviews can be located using databases (periodical or article indexes). Not all databases allow you to search for literature reviews in the same way.  The following databases can be used to locate literature reviews.  Included with the link and database description are step by step instructions for locating a literature review.

Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts/Oceanic Abstracts/Biological and Medical Sciences

  1. Choose Advanced Search.
  2. Enter the terms you want to search for.
  3. In an empty row, enter the term "literature reviews" (plural). 
  4. At the end of the row, click on the drop-down arrow and change Anywhere to Subject Headings. Click on Search.

 

ERIC - Cambridge Scientific Abstracts

 Eric uses the term literature reviews (plural) as a descriptor. To search for a literature review:

    1. Enter the terms you want to search for.
    2. In an empty row, enter the term "literature reviews" (plural).
    3. At the end of the row, click on the drop-down arrow and change Anywhere to Descriptor. Click on Search.

      PsycINFO

      PsycINFO via EBSCO uses the term "literature review" in the methodology field. To search for a literature review:

      1. In an empty row, enter the term "literature review" (singular). At the end of the row, click on the drop-down and change Anywhere to Methodology
      2. Enter the keyword(s) or descrioptors you want to search with. Click on Search.

      The following search would find all literature review articles that have been categorized under the Descrioptor (DE) "peer evaluation"

       

          Social Services Abstracts or Sociological Abstracts

          Social Services Abstracts/Sociological Abstracts

          Social Services Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts and LLBA all use the term literature review as an identifier (similar to a descriptor). To search for a literature review in any of these databases:

          1. Choose Advanced Search.
          2. Enter the terms you want to search for.
          3. In an empty row, enter the term "literature review" (singlular).
          4. At the end of the row, click on the drop-down arrow and change Anywhere to Identifier. Click on Search.

            Research Specialist

            Julene Sodt
            Contact:
            Wilson Library 561


            Julene.Sodt@wwu.edu
            Phone: 650-4928