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SOCL 209: Social Research Methods (Leung): Home

What is a Literature Review?

The purpose of a literature review is to provide an overview of literature (scholarly articles, books, etc.) on a particular subject matter. 

Literature reviews are not meant to be persuasive or argumentative. They are meant to be summative and provide an analysis on information that has already been published on the topic being researched. 

How To Start

When you begin a research project, it is a good idea to take a moment to reflect on your prior knowledge of the topic area. How much do you already know about this topic? How confident are you in moving forward with this topic? In most cases, you will need to do a bit of research to get some general information on your topic. 

A great way to gather background information is through searching reference materials. Reference materials such as Encyclopedias and Dictionaries are arranged alphabetically and contain a general overview of a term or subject matter. 

The library has access to encyclopedias and dictionaries in print and online through particular databases. Below you will find a list of helpful print encyclopedias for your literature review. 

Finding Articles

As part of your assignment, you are required to find peer-reviewed journal articles on a topic. 

The library has access to peer-reviewed journals in print and electronic format. 

Electronic articles can be searched through our databases. There are some general databases and some subject specific databases. To access the databases, click on the database tab on the library homepage. You can then browse through them alphabetically, or browse by discipline (i.e., sociology, education, etc.). 

Below you will find a list of databases that will be helpful for your current assignment. It is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start. 

When you are searching the databases, make sure to limit to "peer-reviewed". 

Help

Librarians are available to help in several ways: 

  • Visit the Research Help Desk in Milne Library
  • Call the Research Help Desk at 607-436-2722
  • E-mail a question to a librarian and receive a response within 48 hours
  • Request a Research Consultation to meet individually with a librarian

Citation

It is important to include appropriate citation in your paper. The library has a guide that can help you accurately cite your resources. You can locate it on the library homepage by clicking the "Citing Sources" link, or you can click on the link below. 

Peer-Reviewed

What does peer-reviewed mean in context to journal articles? Peer-review is a process that many scholarly journals undertake to evaluate the quality of the material being submitted. When an article is submitted to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, several impartial reviewers (who are experts in the subject matter) assess for accuracy, and the validity of the research methodology and procedure. 

Interlibrary Loan

The ILLiad system enables current SUNY Oneonta students, faculty, and staff to obtain academic and intellectual materials from other libraries. Your ILLiad account will allow you to:

  • -- borrow items from other libraries
  • -- make online requests for periodical articles from other libraries
  • -- review the status of your requests
  • -- check due dates of outstanding loans
  • -- ask for renewals
  • -- and much more.

Search Everything

The library has a search feature called "Search Everything". This is the default search on the library's homepage. Using this tool can be difficult and overwhelming because it searches nearly everything the library has access to, including items in the physical collection as well as resources in our databases. 

To effectively search with this feature, use the limiters on the left hand side to narrow down your search results. You can also use the advanced search feature. 

If the library does not have access to a particular article, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. 

Citation Chasing

"Citation Chasing" is a term used to describe finding resources and materials by looking at the citations in one book or article. There are different wants to discover if the library has access to that particular item. 

  • If the item is a journal, you can search for the title of the journal by clicking on the Journals tab on the library homepage. Type in the title and then hit search. If the library has access to it, you will see a list of database(s) where you can view it. Check dates to find the particular volume and issue number you are looking for.
  • Type the title of the article into the Search Everything search box on the library homepage.