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Literature Reviews and Annotated Bibliographies: What is a Literature Review?

Subjects: General, History

Initial Databases for a Literature Review

The databases listed here are interdisciplinary and suitable for most disciplines. For databases specific to your discipline see our Research Guides 

Academic Search Premier Includes some full text

A great place to start to search for magazine and journal articles on almost all topics.
Tip
: Check "peer reviewed" box to limit your search to scholarly journals.

Book Review Index Online Plus  A comprehensive online guide to book reviews that includes more than five million review citations from thousands of publications, with linking to more than 630,000 full-text reviews.  Also consider: Book Review Digest Retrospective: 1905-1982

Dissertations and Theses  (1861+) Indexes dissertations accepted for doctoral degrees by accredited North American educational institutions and over 200 other institutions. Also covers masters theses since 1962. Starting in the early to mid-1900's, the full text is included for an increasingly comprehensive number of dissertations and theses. 

Google Scholar  Enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a widevariety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web

Humanities and Social Science Retrospective  Bibliographic database that provides citations to articles in a wide range of English language journals in the humanities and social sciences for the period 1907-1984.

 JSTOR Includes full text
Includes long runs of backfiles of scholarly journals. Subjects covered include Anthropology, Asian Studies, Ecology, Economics, Education, Finance, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Population Studies, and Sociology.

Periodical Archives Online- (1770-1995) Includes full text;
Full text archive of hundreds of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences from their first issues to 1995 Allows date-limited searching.Periodical Index Online, 1665 - 1995

Web of Knowledge  ISI Web of Knowledge is a research platform including tools for finding, analyzing and managing information in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. The major research resources available through the platform include:

  • Web of Science (including Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index)

WorldCat (OCLC FirstSearch)  
Books and other materials in libraries worldwide. Includes bibliographic records for any type of material cataloged by OCLC member libraries.

What is a Literature Review?

What is a Literature Review?

"A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment, ..., but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or thesis. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries."

--Written by Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre and available at http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/literature-review (Accessed August 8th, 2011)

Writing the Literature Review sites:

 Writing the Literature Reciew: SUNY/Empire State College:

Literature Reviews: UNC - Chapel Hill

Write a Literature Review: UC-Santa Cruz 

What are the goals of creating a Literature Review?

  • To develop a new theory
  • To evaluate a theory or theories
  • To survey what’s known about a topic
  • Identify a problem in a field of research 
  • Provide a historical overview of the development of a topic

Type of Literature Reviews:

  • Mature and/or established topic: Topic is well-known and the purpose of this type of review is to analyze and synthesize this accumulated body of research.
  • Emerging Topic:The purpose of this type of review to identify understudy or new emerging research area.

Hours and Locations