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Literature Reviews

Notes About Getting Started

Remember, the literature review will be a comprehensive look at your topic. Depending on your topic, you may also review closely related scholarship.

Keep your sources organized! A dissertation or thesis is more like running a marathon than a sprint. Sources you consult today may be critical to your research two years (or more!) from now.

Finding Sources

Conducting a lit review requires perseverance in uncovering a comprehensive list of sources, patience in understanding this process is time-consuming, and flexibility in that you undoubtedly will have to use several search strategies and then try them again (that is why it is called research!)

The type of source will determine where you want to search. For example:

  • Articles are found in periodicals (journals) that are indexed through databases (rarely found available for free online). Access to databases provided by Phillips Library is provided in the "Phillips Library Databases" box below
  • Dissertations and Theses are a great place to find relevant scholarship. Use the ProQuest Dissertation and Theses (Search in the ProQuest widget in the "Phillips Library Databases" box below")
  • Books are found through library catalogs. You have access to the Phillips Library catalog, I-Share catalog and the WorldCat catalog. See the box, "Phillips Library Catalog" below to begin searching.
  • Use free search engines such as Google Scholar as a way to gather citations. Typically, scholarly research is not freely available online. If you are asked to pay for an article, check the Phillips Library databases to see if we already have access to the full-text or if you can place an ILLiad request to receive the article. This service is already paid for by Phillips Library which makes it free to you.
  • Use free search engines such as Google to find government information or supporting information on your topic or key researchers in the field.

Library Databases

Find databases on Phillips Library's A to Z Database list page.  Use this link to get started: