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How to Conduct a Literature Review: Home

This guide was created to give you an introduction on how to conduct a literature review.

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Welcome

Welcome to the Bellevue University guide for How to Conduct a Literature Review.  This guide provides a good starting point for general research on this topic.  Resources include print and electronic books, subscription databases, and websites.  Each print book title links directly to the library online catalog, while each e-book title links directly to the full text of the book.  Database recommendations link directly to the specific database.  Recommended websites cover various aspects of the topic.

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BUILD IT

BUILD IT

BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY INFORMATION LITERACY DEVELOPMENT

INTERACTIVE TUTORIAL

http://lib.bellevue.edu/buildit/

BUILD IT is an online guide to the Bellevue University Library and all its resources and services. It  is made up of five self contained modules, each followed by an interactive quiz. Go through BUILD IT from beginning to end or start at the Site Map using just the pages you need. Click on the link above or on one of the modules below, or look for BUILD IT in the left menu of the library homepage under Tutorials.

Module One: Getting to Know the Bellevue University Library
An overview of library resources and services and introduction to the library homepage.

Module Two: Planning Your Project
The steps involved in planning your research paper: Includes focusing your topic, outlining, identifying keywords, Boolean searching, and more.

Module Three: Locating Information
Finding and evaluating information, including books, ebooks, articles, and websites. Includes sample and interactive database searches.

Module Four: Citing Your Sources
Covers the basics of plagiarism, citation, and copyright.

Module Five: Putting it all together
How to organize your research into a formal paper, includes notetaking, revising, and formatting.

Conducting a Literature Review

1. Choose a topic; define a research question.

Your literature review should be guided by a central research question.  Remember, it is not a collection of loosely related studies in a field but instead represents background and research developments related to a specific research question, interpreted and analyzed by you in a synthesized way.

Tips:

  • Make sure your research question is not too broad or too narrow.  Is it manageable?
  • Begin writing down terms that are related to your question. These will be useful for searches later.
  • If you have the opportunity, discuss your topic with your professor.

 

2. Decide on the scope of your review.

How many studies do you need to look at? How comprehensive should it be? How many years should it cover? 

Tips:

  • This may depend on your assignment.  How many sources does the assignment require?
  • Does it fall within the guidelines established by your professor?

 

3. Select the databases you will use to conduct your search.

 Make a list of the databases you will search.  Remember to include comprehensive databases such as those found on the library Database Services website.

Tips:

  • Look at the LibGuides in your discipline to select discipline-specific databases.  

 

4. Conduct your search and find your literature. Keep track of your search results!

Tips: 

  • Review the abstracts of research studies carefully. This will save you time.
  • Write down the searches you conduct in each database so that you may duplicate them if you need to later (or avoid dead-end searches that you'd forgotten you'd already tried). You can also create a folder of your searches in databases like ProQuest or EBSCOhost.
  • Use the bibliographies and references of research studies you find to locate others.
  • Use NoodleTools to keep track of your research citations. See the NoodleTools Tutorial if you need help.

 

5. Review the Literature: here are some questions to help guide your research.

  • What was the research question of the study you are reviewing? What were the authors trying to discover?
  • Was the research funded by a source that could influence the findings?
  • What were the research methodologies? Analyze its literature review, the samples and variables used, the results, and the conclusions.
  • Does the research seem to be complete? Could it have been conducted more soundly? What further questions does it raise?
  • If there are conflicting studies, why do you think that is?
  • How are the authors viewed in the field? Has this study been cited?; if so, how has it been analyzed?

Tips: 

  • Again, review the abstracts carefully.  
  • Keep careful notes so that you may track your thought processes during the research process.

 

6. Compose your paper.

Tips:

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Off-Campus Access

You will be prompted for your BU login when you attempt to access the library databases and e-books from off campus.Your username is your 8 digit student ID# preceded by Bellevue\ . Be sure to use a backslash and not a forward slash, after Bellevue, with no spaces before or after it. Your password is the same one you use for Blackboard and BRUIN. It must meet the requirements of 8-32 characters using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numerals, and special characters. You will be required to change your password every 90 days.