How do I find literature reviews?

Academic communities refer to what has been written on a topic as the literature on the topic.  A literature review is a comprehensive evaluation of the important research that has been done on the topic and should provide an overview of the current knowledge on a topic, and/or to provide a context for new research.


A literature review is NOT just a summary. Even though summarizing the existing research is an important part of a literature review, even more important is the discussion and analysis of the existing research findings.


Check out these sites for more help understanding literature reviews:


Below are tips for finding literature reviews:

  • Using one of CSUSM's library databases, use keywords to narrow your search to literature reviews.  For example:
    • “child development” AND literature review 


  • A few databases will let you limit your search to literature reviews only. You'll typically find this “methodology,” "document type," or "publication type" option in the database's advanced search options.


  • Below are examples on how to do this in two popular databases: ‚Äč
PsycINFO Advanced Search with Literature Review highlighted in Methodology section.  

ProQuest Advanced Search with Literature Review highlighted in Document Type


  • If you find a good research article about your topic, look at the list of references at the end of it. You might see citation information for a literature review which you can then look up in a library database or Google Scholar.
Answered by: Amanda Kalish | Last updated on: Jul 10, 2020 | Views: Views: 0

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