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Literature Reviews: A Resource Guide

This guide offers information on what a literature review is, how to go about conducting one, and links to library resources that will help you with the process.

Guides to Literature Reviewing

Find a book that discusses research methods in your discipline.

All disciplines have books on research methods. Many of the books on research in a discipline will contain a chapter on literature reviewing. They may also discuss problem formulation, or how to define your topic well enough to know what literature to include in your review. To locate these books, search in either Google Books or on the U of C Library home page for the name of your discipline and "research" or "research methods."

While books and chapters on literature reviews in the arts, humanities, social sciences and healtlh sciences are plentiful, there is often less guidance in the sciences and engineering. The following two resources are a good starting point for these disciplines:

Google Books is the world's largest collection of digitized books, dwarfing anything an individual library can provide. While the full text of the books is often blocked due to copyright, you can usually see portions such as the table of contents and the index -- enough to know whether the book is worth looking up in our library collection or submitting an inter-library loan request for if we don't have it.

Consult Sage Research Methods Online 

Sage Research Methods Online is a large collection of resources for carrying out research, particularly in fields related to social sciences. Searching "literature review" (in quotations to search it as a phrase) will bring up several articles on the topic of literature reviews. This article in the Encyclopedia of Research Design is an excellent starting point.

Sage Research Methods is also an excellent source if you're considering higher-level literature reviewing methods, such as systematic review, meta-analysis, or qualitative meta-synthesis.