Beginning a Literature Search

A good place to begin a review of the literature is to locate a recent review in the area of general interest to you.

Click on the Library icon within the online campus to get into the ​EBSCO​Provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, ebooks and discovery services Databases; in the first blank search box ask for a topic that interests you; in the second blank search box ask for a literature review. Then click on search.

Look over the resulting list, choose the most likely looking article, access the ‘Full Text’, and read the literature review.

Selecting Articles

  • Choose a topic that is limited but not too limiting. For example, if you are interested in learners over 60 years, type in “older adult learners” without specifying an age.
  • Select the most recent articles that come up on the list of results.
  • Read the Reference List and mark any articles that you might search for later.
  • If the result of this first search is too long, limit your search by typing in a modifier on the third line.

Organising your Articles

  • Once you have collected enough good articles for your review, you can stop searching and start reading the articles and thinking about how you are going to write your literature review.
  • Before you start reading, it is important to think about organizing and storing your information.

Begin Reading

Now you must read the articles you have found. To improve your critical reading skills, see our articles about thinking critically.

Keep the Purpose in Mind

If your literature review is to be useful to any reader, it should highlight areas of interest in the literature, prospective gaps in the literature and research, flaws in the reasoning of an article and research carried out. Also, it should point out the threads throughout history and the current trends in research related to the subject under investigation. This means that while reading articles, thesis and books it is important to keep these goals in the back of your mind and make notes accordingly.

« Back to Student SuccessLast updated November 22, 2019
Provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, ebooks and discovery services