Steely Library phone number: 859.572.5457
Conducting a Literature Review
What is a Literature Review?
You have determined a suitable topic for your research, formulated questions about the topic that you would like to investigate, and decided which search terms should be the best to use. Now, you need to attempt to answer your questions and find out more about your topic by completing numerous searches using your terms in various catalogs, databases, indices, and other sources. This is where the review of literature or literature review comes in. In this step of your research project, you need to survey, identify, locate, and analyze a variety of documents containing information related to your research topic.
Many describe the literature review as a constantly fluctuating and spiraling v. You begin by surveying any literature that is related, however slightly, to your topic. As you read and analyze your information, you discard some articles because they don’t relate closely enough to your topic. As you continue to read and analyze the literature you find, you will be led to additional articles and documents that are listed in bibliographies, reference lists, web links, or other sources. Some of these you will want to keep, others will be discarded. As you continue to read and analyze, you may notice that the terminology you have used to this point to describe your topic begins to change. This should prompt you to use different words and phrases when searching for literature related to your topic. Gradually, all this literature that you’re working with reduces itself until you are left with the literature that is most closely related to your topic. It is this rather small number of articles, documents, books, and other literature that you organize into the literature review.
Where Do I Find the Literature to Review?
There are numerous places to look in order to find information about your research topic. Steely Library provides access to a number of research resources, including a Discovery search tool, article databases, and Research Guides.
Articles and Databases
Discovery is a tool that searches multiple databases, including NKUIRE (the library's catalog). In addition, there are approximately 150 databases available through Steely Library. Many of them are subject oriented and will provide full-text access to journal articles. Using these databases will provide you with the most current research related to your topic. The databases are available to you on or off campus.
If you don't know the best databases to use for your field of study, consider using a Research Guide. The Research Guides are subject listings of sources available from Steely Library. Each Research Guide has an Articles tab. Open the Articles tab to find a listing of the best databases to use for searching journals in your subject field.
NKUIRE is Steely Library's online catalog. Use NKUIRE to find out which books, videos, CDs, recordings, and government documents the NKU libraries own. NKUIRE can be used from any computer with Internet access, both on-and off-campus.
Another source for finding books, videos, and other items is WorldCat. WorldCat is the world's most comprehensive bibliography and includes holdings information from libraries across the world. Request any item NKU does not own using SourceFinder
There are many web sites that contain valuable information. Google Scholar may prove helpful.
How Do I Organize My Information?
RefWorks is an online research management, writing and collaboration tool, designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies. Several tutorials and guides are available that explain how to use Refworks.
- Refworks 2.0 Quick Start Guide
- RefWorks 2.0 Fundamentals Tutorial
- RefWorks 2.0 Fundamentals Workbook
- RefWorks Classic Basics Tutorial
- RefWorks Classic Advanced Tutorial
- RefShare Classic Tutorial
- Database Export Instructions (.pdf)
- RefWorks Classic Advanced Features Workbook (.pdf)
- RefWorks Classic Fundamentals Workbook (.pdf)
- RefWorks Classic Quick Start Guide (.pdf)
- RefWorks Classic in 60 Seconds
Steely Library phone number: 859.572.5457