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Literature review: Introduction

 

This guide will help you to plan your literature review and to adopt a systematic approach to searching the literature.

 

What is a literature review?

"The literature review chapter in the thesis, then, justifies the proposed research by identifying trends or gaps in the literature, and, by a review of relevant studies, demonstrates that you understand the relevant literature and shows how your study will contribute to that body of knowledge."

Burton, Suzan, and Steane, Peter. Surviving Your Thesis. London: Routledge, 2004.

The starting point: Plan your search strategy

Try using a search strategy worksheet to identify key concepts in your research question:

  • Write out a clear, detailed statement of your research question.
  • Identify the concepts which your research question includes.
  • List keywords which describe the concepts including synonyms, acronyms, alternative spellings including American spelling and plurals.
  • Identify subject headings which describe the concepts.
  • Develop your search strategy using this Search Strategy Worksheet

(From program developed by librarians from Ohio universities)

See this Sample Search Strategy Worksheet for a search strategy example.

 

Online training

The Research Methods in Literature Review tutorial, aimed at research postgraduate students, is available on GST1 on Blackboard

 See screenshot of course highlights below:

 

 

Undergraduates and students in Taught Postgraduate programmes must log on to Blackboard and self-enrol in the Learning Centre to use this tutorial.  Once you have access to the Learning Centre, click on Graduate Research Skills in the menu on the left hand side.

Books at the James Hardiman Library

 

Other books on conducting a literature review  and books on writing a thesis with a chapter on literature reviews are available in the James Hardiman Library - see selective listing  

See also a selective listing of books on systematic reviews.

 

Training calendar

Check our list of  upcoming training events 

Other library guides

A full range of library guides for researchers is being developed. Browse our library guides BY SUBJECT 

See list below and the Support for Researchers webpages for lots more useful resources and links.

See also our LARK Information Skills module designed for undergraduates