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Research Guides

Conducting Literature Reviews: Getting Started

Checklist to Get Started

  • Identify a topic and/or subtopic representing your area of interest.
  • Obtain background information on your topic by accessing Credo Reference .
  • Formulate a Research Question about your Topic.
  • Identify the keywords from your Question to use in locating information about your topic.
  • Talk with your professor.  They can point out key individuals/experts in the field you can watch for in the literature.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement about your topic.
  • Develop a Search Strategy.  Determine what information sources you need to meet your information need.  Determine the scope of your literature review, and the types of publications you will be using (e.g. journals, books, government documents, popular media).  Determine the Discipline in which you are working (i.e. education, psychology, sociology, public administration). 
  • You may want to start by casting a wide net, identifying any books that relate to your topic, even if they do not directly answer your research question.  These books will give you a broader view of your field of study, which you can then communicate in your review.  To search for books, you can use  HamCAT.
  • Next you need to determine what has been published in the literature.  Knowing which online research databases to use is a critical step in your research process.  To help you determine which research databases to use, click on Databases & Articles under Find on the Bush Library Home Page .  Scroll down to the appropriate subject.
  • As you find appropriate books and articles related to the focus of your topic, be sure to check their Works Cited or References pages.  These references could lead you to other relevant studies related to your topic.