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Literature Review > Conduct a Literature Review

This guide provides information to help you find literature reviews and create them.

Conducting research

1. Determine your information needs

A good research begins with defining your information needs. Attempt to summarize the subject of your literature review in one short sentence.

2. Consult general works

General works, such as specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, memorandums or introductory books, are essential to begin your research. These will enable you to master basic information on your subject, build a general frame for it and familiarize yourself with the terminology.

To learn about the recommended general works in your field of study, consult the Library's Resources by Subject guides. You may also search for books on your subject directly in Sofia, our discovery tool. For a search demo in the Catalogue, consult our tutorials.

3. Finding articles in journals and conference proceedings

This is the core of your research. There are different methods to search for articles, such as:

  • Searching from an existing reference list of interesting articles. For example, if you already found a literature review on some aspects of your topic or a similar subject to yours, it is interesting to consult its reference list. See the Find a Literature Review tab for research advice.
  • Searching by citations. From the Web of Science database and Google Scholar search engine, one can see who cited consulted articles.
  • Using the traditional method for searching articles, to narrow the research and find the most relevant results on your subject. This step is indispensable while conducting a literature review. To learn how to do it, consult the guide Finding Scientific Articles. For a search demo in the Compendex database, consult our tutorials.

4. Where required, consult other types of documents

Finally, depending on your subject, you may have to consult other types of very specialized documents such as patents, standards or technical reports. Consult the guides on Resources by Document Type for specific research advice and resources giving access to these types of documents.

 

Read, critique, organize

Of course, once you have found the necessary documents to conduct the literature review, you should read, analyze and evaluate them.  For more information on how to evaluate articles, consult the Evaluate Retrieved Documents tab of the Finding Scientific Articles guide. You will find there an evaluation chart for scientific articles.

Then, you will need to organize the information found in order to structure your literature review. You will be able to compare the documents at this stage, regroup the ones that address similar aspects of the subject or that have similar approaches, and detect trends.

Finally, a literature review is much more than an annotated bibliography. It is a synthesis and perspective of important elements that require a good knowledge of the field of study.  For detailed advice on this, consult the recommended works under the Writing Tools tab of this guide.

Evaluating information

Checklist for writing your literature review

Checklist for writing your literature review

Managing Your References


Bibliographic software allows you to import and manage personal databases of bibliographic references.

> EndNote
> BibTeX