What is a literature review?

Where to look

All disciplines have specialized databases indexing their literature. Check out our A-Z database list and choose your subject area. 

Also check your course syllabi and the reference sections of relevant books and articles.

Scholarship as Conversation

Scholarship as Conversation refers to the idea that communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations. Experts understand that a given issue may be characterized by several competing perspectives as part of an ongoing conversation in which information users and creators come together and negotiate meaning. As a student doing academic research, you are "jumping" into this discourse. You are engaging in a type of conversation with your sources and their authors so that you gain new understanding of your research topic and cultivate questions or your own that may guide further research. 

Engaging in Research is engaging in a conversation. One of the early stages in the research process is when you investigate the existing research on your topic, which may include articles and books, magazines and newspapers, data, or other historical primary sources. Investigating that existing research is like listening to a conversation that’s already been going on--asking your own questions and producing a response is adding to that conversation. Academic research can be difficult, but you're not alone! Research is a conversation between many different "voices" that each contribute a unique perspective on a topic. There are many ways that you can use that conversation to help improve your understanding of a topic and discover what you have to say about it.

Source: Getting Started with Research from Defiance College

How do I track the conversation?

Tracking backward: bibliography or references
Use an article/book for a starting point. Review "References" "Bibliography" or "Works Cited" section of the publication. Trace back and locate the previous publications on the subject, by searching article databases, library catalogs or Google Scholar

Tracking forward: “cited by” in Google Scholar or Web of Science
Search an article/book at a Citation Indexes database, then locate the related works that cited the article/book. 

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