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Graduate Students

Resources offered by the Hoffman Family Library to support Goodwin University graduate students.

Literature Review

A literature review typically involves the following steps:

  1. Select a research topic - A general starting point is crucial, but you will refine your research question as you discover potential problems to be solved or questions to answer. Single Search (found on library's home page) and Google Scholar are excellent tools for basic searching, and your early results can provide keywords, subject terms, and other language that you can add to modified searches.

  2. Search the literature - Choose pertinent databases from the library's A to Z Databases, and retrieve the articles and information that represent seminal research in your discipline, current research being done, and related research in your field or other fields. Pay attention to article bibliographies/references, which often provide many more relevant articles.

  3. Read and analyze - This step encompasses a few parts: initial overview of abstracts and summaries to determine subject areas or subtopics of the research; critical readings to determine relevance to your research question; and analysis of the research that includes writing a very brief note summarizing the key points and contributions of each paper.

  4. Write the review - The review is written as a critical evaluation which thoroughly communicates not just an overview of the subject matter, but more importantly the connections among the literature and your understanding of its relevance. 

  5. Include a bibliography - The literature review should include citations for each of the works discussed.

What Does "Peer Reviewed" or "Refereed" Mean?

Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc.

Publications that don't use peer review (Time, Cosmo, Salon) just rely on the judgment of the editors whether an article is up to "snuff" or not. That's why you can't count on them for solid, scientific scholarship.