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Social Science Research Methods - POLS/SOAN 215 - Andrews

Literature Reviews

What is a literature review?

Conducting a literature review involves finding, reading, and summarizing the existing body of research on your topic or area of interest. This is how scholars figure out what to research: by knowing what other researchers have already published, they can be sure their work is addressing a gap in the research or building on the existing research.


How do I get started?

I recommend that you explore a few different types of resources: 

1. Books: When you find a book on your topic, the introduction will likely have what you need. If not, scan the table of contents for topics of interest.

The library has nearly half a million ebooks available digitally, not to mention the 170,000+ print books in our building and the 36 million+ items you can borrow through I-Share. You have options!


2. Journal Articles: Consider which discipline(s) care about your topic, then search in a subject-specific database from the library. Check out the descriptions below to find the right database for you:

From an EbscoHost database,

  • Click on the detailed record for the article.
  • Click on the link “Request document via interlibrary loan” and complete the form.

Otherwise, please fill out this Article Request Form.

Questions? Contact Diane Wingert at 618.374.5074 or