For further assistance with locating, managing and referencing information for a literature review, please contact the Liaison Librarian for your discipline area.
A literature review is an evaluative report of published, scholarly research in a chosen area of study, defined by a research objective. It may stand on its own, or be part of another document e.g. a research report or thesis.
A literature review differs from an annotated bibliography as it also compares former research studies and relates this to the proposed area of research, providing some rationale for further research.
Apply relevant search strategies
Many databases, library catalogues and search engines offer strategies to refine searches.
|OR e.g. water OR liquid||Increases the number of records retrieved.|
|AND e.g. water AND salt||Reduces the number of records retrieved.|
Use the library catalogue to find books and other items in a particular library.
For more information on using the UWS Library catalogue: Successful Searching online tutorialLibraries Australia allows you to search for and locate material in other Australian libraries, or search other library catalogues other library catalogues.
Journal articles are sources of current and specific information
Databases provide access to citations, full text journal articles, and often include book chapters, conference proceedings and dissertations. To find references to journal articles and other scholarly material e.g. conference papers, you can search databases from the UWS Library e-resource page. Look at e-resources by subject for guidance on databases relevant to specific disciplines.
Most databases enable you to limit your search to scholarly journals (ie peer-reviewed or refereed).
Many databases support citation searching. Citation searching enables a researcher to track articles, books or other materials that have been cited in a particular work. It is possible to travel forward in time from a published work and view citations that reference back to an original source (article, book, conference presentation, patent) and identify core researchers in a specific field.
More information on citation searching.
Obtaining the fulltext of the article
If the article is available as a fulltext document this is usually indicated by a link to a PDF file or other options to obtain fulltext. If the fulltext of the article is not provided, select LinkFinderPlus / UWS Link next to the article, if this is available, as this will automatically check whether the Library has electronic holdings of the journal title in which the article is published. UWS Library catalogue provides direct links to the print and electronic journal holdings of the Library.
All currently enrolled UWS higher degree students are eligible to register for the free Document Delivery service, to obtain items from other institutions.
Another option is to become a member of another library as a reciprocal borrower.
Although the internet provides some useful resources, these should not be relied on exclusively, but may be useful to complement searching scholarly sources. It is important to evaluate any website to assess its authority. Two useful filtered sites are:
Many databases provided by UWS Library and journal publishers provide a free service designed to keep researchers up to date with current academic literature published in their fields. These services cover:
More information on Alerting services
EndNote is software for storing and managing bibliographic references. It allows you to import references from library catalogues or other electronic databases into EndNote reference libraries using filters. You may also connect directly to some databases and catalogues and search them using EndNote, saving retrieved references directly to an EndNote library. References in EndNote libraries can be sorted and searched, and incorporated automatically into papers. Using EndNote can make writing papers a lot simpler and easier and as a result save you time and ensure accuracy of citations.
RefWorks is an alternative web-based bibliographic management program.