What is a Literature Review?
- Conducting a Literature Review
- Am I the Only One Struggling to Write a Literature Review? (Sage Research Methods)
What are the Purposes of a Literature Review?
- situate your work in its discipline/area/subfield
- develop an understanding of how knowledge in your discipline/field/area has changed over time
- develop mastery of what's known in your area, and part of the larger discipline that contains it
- compare different conceptual or sub-disciplinary approaches to your topic
- compare and contrast different theoretical schools or leading researchers in your area
- identify methodologies that you might use in your work
Find missing citations, track references and find related articles
- Excellent step-by-step guide Using Web of Science for tracking citations
Why is this important?
- keeping track of how often and where a publication is being cited can help you gauge the impact of that article
- if the article has been cited, you may find 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
- to determine how well your own published research is cited for promotion/tenure considerations
- don't forget to keep track of your searches! Literature Reviews: Keep Track (UBC)
Web of Science
Select Cited Reference Search from top tool bar.
You have the article
Burstein, P. 2003 "The impact of public opinion on public policy: A review and an agenda." Political Research Quarterly Volume: 56 Issue: 1 Pages: 29-40
Enter the author in cited author box
Burstein P* (use surname, first initial and truncation symbol)
Retrieve abbreviation of journal name from list provided, and enter year of publication. POLIT RES QUART
Enter cited year: 2003
From the list, select the ariticle and click on Finish Search at the top of the list.
Results show the article has been cited 410 times - the most recent in 2019.
Note the option Create Alert to be notified of any future citing of this article.
Choose Author Search from top tool bar.
Enter author's name and affiliation if known
Onwuegbuzie, Anthony John
Select displayed result. All published articles by the author will be listed. Click on article for citing references.
Onwuegbuzie, Anthony John and Nancy L. Leech, "Validity and qualitative research: An oxymoron?" Quality and Quantity Volume 41, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 233-249. This article, published in 2007, has been cited 228 times, the most recent in 2019.
Tips for effective searching
If you find one relevant article for your research it can lead to other relevant papers by the following:
- using the databases, including Omni, look to find all papers & books published by the author or co-authors
- explore the bibliography in the paper for sources
- using Web of Science or Scopus look for articles that cite the article you found. Remember, some databases will also list citing articles but those lists are limited to the current database. The Web of Science and Scopus are more comprehensive, with coverage from multiple databases.
- Remember to see if a citing article has itself been cited.
Refresh your skills - developing a good search strategy is important
- Electric car AND subsid*
- Boolean operators must be all caps - AND/OR will narrow or expand your results
- quotes will keep the words together
- the * will look for alternate endings
- add AND Canada
- add filters:
- Add resources beyond Carleton's collection' to broaden your results
- Peer-reviewed journals
- Subjects … governments or energy policy or energy efficiency, etc.
- Publication date
Suggested reference resources:
- Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods
- Qualitative research methods for the social sciences
- Sage dictionary of qualitative inquiry
Databases for finding academic literature
- Use the Public Policy & Administration guide for finding databases and other resources
- Do not limit yourself to these: See Databases by Subject list
- Look at the Subject Guides that best relate to your topic. For example: Philanthropy, Health, Renewable Energy, Canadian Studies, Indigenous Policy, Business, etc.
Good to know:
- Search Alerts can be set once you're logged into Omni's My Library Account as well as in most databases. They can help researchers stay current with automatic e-mail alerts
- Don't hesitate to use the Interlibrary Loans RACER form to request items not held at Carleton’s library
Grey literature is an important source of information for research in public policy that:
- adds a valuable global perspective
- provides detailed overviews on specific populations
- may be only source of local information
Grey literature is defined as "information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing" ie. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." —ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997. Expanded in New York, 2004
- Grey Literature Guide
- Omni (the Library's main search engine) (narrow results by resource type)
- Dissertations and Theses Global
- Google Scholar (change country, for example, to find international material)
- Canadian Business & Current Affairs
- Web of Science
- Business Source Complete (select publication type "Grey literature")
- GreyNet International (organizations in Grey Literature and repository)
For current Canadian newspapers/news
For historical Canadian & other newspapers
- Globe and Mail: Canada's Heritage from 1844
- New York Times Archives
- Toronto Star: Pages of the Past
- Times Digital Archive
Policy Reports and Working Papers
- Conference Board of Canada e-Library Covers areas of Economic Trends, Organizational Performance, and Public Policy.
- NBER (National Bureau of Economics Research) Working Papers
- Policy File Index Indexes research on U.S. public policy with content from public policy think tanks, university research programs, research organizations, etc.
- Think Tanks guide
- Think Tank Search (Harvard University custom search)
- detailed subject guide from the Business School at the University of Alberta
- Canadian federal government documents
Dissertations and Theses Global
Dates covered: Indexing 1743 - present; Full text 1997 - present
For a full list of databases see: Theses and Dissertations
- How to write a thesis by Umberto Eco
- Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process
- Writing an annotated bibliography
- Write a book review (Queen's University)
Carleton Library offers tours and workshops on citation management tools.
Nvivo is qualitative data analysis software to help organize and analyze data, identify trends, and cross examine information in a variety of ways.
Sage Research Methods supports researchers throughout a research project, from writing a research question, choosing a method, gathering and analyzing data, to writing up and publishing the findings.
SPSS and Stata
The library offers a statistical consulting service to help students, faculty and other researchers in the Carleton University community with their questions regarding quantitative data.