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Ekstrom Library

CADRE & Faculty Development Course Library Information: How to conduct a literature review

Where do I go to search the literature? AKA alternatives to Google

How do I search these databases?

  1. Brainstorm keywords for your topic.
    For example, if your research question was "How do extracurricular activities affect the academic performance of first generation college students?", your keywords might be
    • extracurricular
    • academic performance
    • first generation college students
  2. Choose the best database. The above example would fit best in the education literature.
  3. Type the keywords into the search boxes in the database you have chosen.

What is a literature review?

A literature review means looking through the scholarly, peer-reviewed literature on your topic to find what others have written about it. This is different than just doing a general search of the open Web (via Google for example). The scholarly literature is written by people who are experts in their field, often describes or reports on research that those experts have done, and then has been reviewed by other experts in the same field before being published.

There are specific search engines or databases that you need to use to find this literature. It is often not available through a search of the open web.

How do I get my hands on the article or book?

Often, the article that you need will have the PDF available.  If not, click on the Find it at UofL button.

There will then be 2 choices:

  1. A link to the full-text (PDF) in another location.
  2. An option to use the library's Interlibrary Loan service.

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