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How to Write a Literature Review

A self-guided tutorial that walks you through the process of conducting a Literature Review.

Search the literature

If you're working on a research project with a professor or faculty mentor, they may recommend articles to help you begin your readings of the literature. You can use these as a jumping off point to locate additional sources.

To locate additional articles, your best bet is to refer to your librarian's online research guide for a list of appropriate article databases for your discipline

A few suggestions:

light bulb icon Before searching, brainstorm some keywords based on your topic. The infographics below can help.
check list icon Search systematically and keep track of your search terms; this will help you figure out which search strategies provide the best results.
download icon Save and organize the articles and other sources you wish to set aside for further reading and give your files names that make sense for you, e.g. Smith_2015.pdf (Author last name_publication year.pdf).

Brainstorming Keywords (Infographic)

(Click to Enlarge Image)

You will need to use keywords to search for information online and in library resources. Follow this guidance to identify keywords that will be useful for searching.

Why Use a Concept Map?

Concept maps or tables are tools that help you brainstorm ideas, focus your topic, and identify possible keywords before using the library's databases to search for articles for your literature review.

The video below is from Penn State University Libraries.