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SOCL 209: Social Research Methods (Leung)

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".