How to write and conduct a literature review
SAGE Research Methods ( supports beginning and advanced researchers throughout a research project, from writing a research question, choosing a method, gathering and analyzing data, to writing up and publishing the findings)
- Conducting a Literature Review
- How to write a literature review (Concordia University Libraries)
- The literature review: a few tips on conducting it (U. of Toronto)
- Literature reviews (University of N. Carolina, Chapel Hill)
- How to research
- Writing literature reviews : a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences
Finding Literature reviews on your topic
Many dissertations and theses require a literature review. Most of these appear near the very beginning of the dissertation so that the writer can position their work relative to other relevant work in the field.
- CURVE - Carleton's institutional repository. Theses and Dissertations created by Carleton University students.
- Dissertations and Theses Global
- Other Dissertations/Theses databases
- Search OMNI or subject specific DATABASES and add the term "literature review" to your search terms.
Pick a research-tracking method
- Keep track of what you learn from the sources that you use for your writing assignments.
- The low-tech way to keep track of your research sources is to use 3x5 or 4x6 index cards. Use one card per source consulted.
- Note the source's bibliographic information on the top of the card so you'll have the information ready when you need to cite the source in your bibliography. Make your notes on the remaining space on the card.
An electronic form is another good way of keeping track provided by the following universities:
- Research Strategy Worksheet (University of Colorado Boulder)
- Scholarly Research Log (Capella University)
- Keeping Track of the Search (UCLA)
- Student guide to research in the digital age : how to locate and evaluate information sources ZA3075 .S74 2006
- Your research project: how to manage it
- The craft of research
- The essential guide : research writing across the disciplines LB2369.L399 2005
- Information skills : finding and using the right resources ZA3075.G75 2010
- Research and writing in international relations JZ1234 .S77 2012
- InterViews : learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing
- Research methods in critical security studies : an introduction JZ1251 .R48 2013
- The government manager's guide to plain language
- Plain language in government writing : a step-by-step guide
- Writing reports to get results : quick, effective results using the pyramid method
- Public Relations Writing Worktext: A Practical Guide for the Profession
- Writing public policy : a practical guide to communicating in the policy making process
Develop a search statement to search databases (including news databases), the catalogue, and other academic sources
A search statement includes a list of keywords, combined using Boolean Operators (AND; OR; NOT)
- AND - this will combine concepts, all of which must be found in your list of results
- media AND children
- OR - either this concept or that concept (or both). This is helpful for generating a list of synonyms. Use synonyms to anticipate the different ways different authors may refer to the same idea. A thesaurus can be helpful for this
- internet OR web OR online
- NOT - do not include this concept
- Mexico NOT city
- Quote marks - find a specific phrase
- "human rights"
- Truncation - any other combination of letters to follow
- Canad* - will find Canada, Canadian, Canadian's, etc.
- journalis* - will find journalism, journalist, journalistic, etc.
- Combine one or more of these operators
- Put a list of synonyms in brackets
(smartphone OR "mobile phone" OR "cell phone") AND (societ* OR cultur*)
Explore the following guides:
- Think tanks
- Grey Literature
- Canadian Government Information and Statistics
- Lobbying: Public Policy Resources
- Science and Technology: Public Policy and Statistics
- National Security, Intelligence and Terrorism
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Nuclear power reactors in the world (journal)
Define and get an overview of your topic or find definitions of key terms and concepts:
- Oxford Reference Online Premium
- Too Critical to Fail: How Canada Manages Threats to Critical Infrastructure
- The Insider Threat: Assessment and Mitigation of Risks
- OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies Good Governance for Critical Infrastructure Resilience
- Strategic Cyber Defense: A Multidisciplinary Perspective
- Counter-Terrorism Technologies: A Critical Assessment
- National Risk Assessments - A Cross Country Perspective
- Securing Water and Wastewater Systems: Global Experiences
- Insider Threats in Cyber Security
- Insider threat : a guide to understanding, detecting, and defending against the enemy from within
Also check other publications by:
- IMF eLibrary
- World Bank -Open Knowledge Repository
- Unatied Nations e-library
- OECD iLibrary
- Country Reports on Terrorism
- Canadian Global Affairs Institute
- Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS)
- Homeland Security Digital Library
- RAND: Terrorism Threat Assessment (RAND research and analysis has provided policymakers with objective guidance and recommendations to improve preparedness, international collaboration, response, and recovery to this global threat)
- National Research Council Canada
- Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
- National Security and Intelligence Review Agency
- Public Safety Canada
- National Cyber Security Centre (UK)
- Defense One
- Breaking Defense magazine
- Business Source Complete – look for a PESTLE report.
Select Country Reports from the menu on the right hand margin
Key in a country name to the search box
Look for a Country Profile or Country Review and open the most recent year
- EIU.com - provides tables and charting of economic indicators, including disposal income, for all countries.
- globalEdge - user friendly site from Michigan State University providing statistical data and information on 202 countries worldwide.
Search engine OMNI located on the library home page, allows you to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.
See also our list of recommended databases on the International Affairs subject guide, which includes:
- Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
- International Political Science Abstracts
- PAIS Index
- Web of Science
- Taylor & Francis Journals Online
- Scholars Portal Journals
- ASCE Research Library
- Ei Engineering Village
- IEEExplore Digital Library
- Dissertations and Theses Global
Help with eBooks
What is cited reference searching?
A simple and useful way of finding additional resources on your topic is to track citations backwards and forwards.
- Find a useful paper, check the reference list (these papers will have been published BEFORE your paper), AND
- Find the paper in one of the databases below, and check who has cited it (these papers will have been published AFTER your paper.
Cited reference searching, or citation analysis, also called citation tracking, is a way of measuring the relative importance or impact or an author, article, or publication, by counting the number of times that author, article, or publication has been cited by other works.
There are a number of tools available; however, no single database covers all works that cite other works. Searching across several databases is necessary to ensure complete coverage.
Why is this important?
- keeping track of how many times and where a publication is begin cited can help you gage the impact that article has in your discipline
- if the article has been cited, the database will provide a link to the citing article/author
- to locate current research based on earlier research
- to find out how a particular research topic is being used to support other research
- to track the history of a research idea
- to track the research history of a researcher
Use our main search tool, OMNI to do cited reference searching. Click on these icons to either "find sources cited in this" OR "find sources citing this".
Use our Cited Reference Searching page to find out which of the big databases allow you to do this and how to do this.