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
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
- refugee AND law
- 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*)
Google Advanced search suggestions
- restricting content to file type
- type in your topic and then "filetype:pdf" or "filetype:doc"
- restricting content to site .org or .gov sites
- type in your topic and then either "site:.org" OR "site:.gov"
- restricting content to searching titles only
- type search "intitle: "climate change""
- to exclude words from your search
- to do this search use operator "-" (minus) eg. jaguar speed -car
Search for sites that link to site of interest:
Find quick information about a site:
Search for words in a URL:
- use Google Australia, Google UK, Google.de etc.
Explore the following guides:
- Think tanks
- Harvard Library focused on think tanks
- Google's Custom Search engine
- Grey Literature
Consult the News Guide for details of news sources.
Tips for searching newspaper databases.
Check publications by:
- IMF eLibrary
- IMF Data
IMF DataMapperUsing the most current data from the WEO Database, create maps and charts relating to GDP (data series will continue to be added). Data from 1980, projections for next 5 years.
IMF - Data and StatisticsUse this page to find links to IMF data, standards/codes, manuals/guides, most visited statistics, and more.
- World Bank -Open Knowledge Repository
- Intro to the World Bank Group
- Get Involved
- Projects & Operations
- Focus on Countries
- Reports, Research, & Repositories
- Legal Cases & Grievances
- Multimedia & Social Media
- Unatied Nations e-library
- United Nations Digital Library
- UN Data
- UN Documentation Research Guide (UN Library)
Overview of UN publications and how to use them
- UNESCO Digital Library
- United Nations Treaty Collection
- UN Official Document System
UN General Assembly"The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policy making and representative organ of the United Nations."
UN Security Council"The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security."
- The UN Human Rights Office
- UN Women
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
- The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR)
- United Nations Library & Archives Geneva
- Research guides
- UN OHCHR Fact Sheets
- Third Committee of the General Assembly: provides a forum for member states to discuss social, cultural, and humanitarian affairs
- Human Rights Council (HRC) and the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) the Council conducts the Universal Periodic Review of human rights in each member state and establishes Commissions of Inquiry to investigate possible human rights violations.
- Other Human Rights bodies established under OHCHR.
- UN Research guide
- the UNICEF Core Commitments for Children (CCCs)
- Health Library for Disasters
- Virtuallibrary - UNICEF Innocenti
- ChildInfo- UNICEF's statistical information on children and women
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations Environment Programme
- UN Documentation Research Guide (UN Library)
- OECD iLibrary
- NATO Library
NATO - April 1952 - April 1957Lord Ismay's report to the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Bonn, May 1957
NATO Archives OnlineExplore the first 10 years of the Alliance’s history through the Committee documents of the North Atlantic Council and its sub-committees, the Military Committee and its working groups, as well as a complete collection of NATO Publications
NATO Basic Texts"A thematic overview of NATO's most important official texts : from the Treaty and its protocols to the Partnership for Peace"
NATO EncyclopediaThis is a compilation of archived online topic pages which explain every aspect of the Organization
NATO Official Texts"Official texts of the Alliance, from the Treaty and its protocols to the Partnership for Peace documents, as well as the complete texts of all NATO Ministerial Communiqués since 1949".
- The International Labour Organization
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. Department of Labor)
- US Conference Board
- Conference Board of Canada e-Library
- Charting International Labor Comparisons (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- ILOSTAT (International Labour Office)
- The World Health Organization
- WHO World Health Report
- UNDP Human Development Reports
- IMF World Economic Outlook Reports
- World Bank World Development Report
- World Bank World Development Indicators
- UNSD Social Indicators
- ADB Asian Development Outlook
- ADB Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific
- ADBG African Development Report
- World Bank Africa Development Indicators
- OECD Health Data
- WHO Global Health Observatory data
- WHO Bulletins
- The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
- International Organization for Migration
- IOM Migration Research Series
- IOM Publications
- International Organization for Migration (IOM) - Migration Policy and Legislation Set up by the UN to support evidence-based migration policies and legislation in line with international norms and standards.
- United Nations - Migration From the UN's Global Issues web pages.
- UNESCO - Migration and inclusive societies United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's webpage on migration.
- UN High Commission on Refugees - Asylum and Migration A global organisation dedicated to protecting the lives and rights of refugees and stateless people.
- World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) A free global legal research database covering worldwide legislation, cases, treaties and more. Related to AustLII.
- International Commission of Jurists (IJC) - Migration and International Human Rights Law - A Practitioners' Guide (PDF)
- International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)
- UN - International Migration
- iDMC is the leading international body monitoring conflict-induced internal displacement worldwide."
- Forced Migration Review (FMR)
- International Rescue Committee
- Migration Information Source the Source offers useful tools, vital data, and essential facts on the movement of people worldwide
- UN - International Migration
- International Migration 2009
- Refugee Resettlement Info
- Guide to International Refugee Law Resources on the Web
By Elisa Mason, the information manager for the Forced Migration Online project at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford.
Refworld is the leading source of information necessary for taking quality decisions on refugee status.
- ICRC Databases on International Humanitarian Law
Use for law texts, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Includes the so called "Red Cross or Geneva Treaties/Conventions on War.
Policy Collections and Working Papers
- Policy Commons (Access to reports and documents from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), think tanks, government agencies, and educational institutions)
- Canadian Public Documents Collection (1996-2019) - Canadian public policy, health and medical research.
- Conference Board of Canada eLibrary - Centre for the North, Centre for Food in Canada, How Canada Performs, etc.
- National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Papers
- Policy File Index - Indexes research in U.S. public policy.
- Think Tanks and Policy Centres
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:
- Business Source Complete
- Econlit with Full Text
- Emerald Management eJournals
- Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
- International Political Science Abstracts
- PAIS Index
- Columbia International Affairs Online
- Taylor & Francis Journals Online
- Scholars Portal Journals
- 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.