Literature Reviews

A brief guide for various disciplines, including social work, other social sciences, human environmental sciences, and related disciplines

Places to start

To get started, decide what you need.

The catalog is still the main source of books, along with WorldCat for the larger span of publishing. Find articles by searching in the relevant databases and seeing if we have the content. Commonly, you may start with keyword searching, but there are other techniques that may be useful, such as subject searching, using the descriptors or other umbrella terms, and finding other works by authors you favor. Particular journals may be more important than others. Some databases, like PsycINFO, ERIC, and Medline, will allow you to limit to the type of study that you are seeking.

Interdisciplinary databases cover a lot of topics but not in as much depth (e.g. Academic Search Complete or ProQuest Central, JSTOR)

Subject databases cover specific types of materials or a defined subject area in depth (e.g., WorldCat, America: History and Life, PsycINFO, ERIC, Social Work Abstracts, Anthropological Literature, Agricola or Project Muse).

ProQuest Digital Dissertations indexes dissertations and theses, specifically. WorldCat is a compilation of library catalogs, and answers (to a large extent) "What books are published on X topic?"

We have hundreds of databases in a broad range of subjects.

Some databases, and some journals, will allow you immediate access to the full text of the article. Otherwise, the "FindIt" button will show the holdings of the journal, magazine or newspaper or link to e-content if we have it. You may have to click through several pages or search for the article within the journal if it is available online.

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