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Literature Review

Find Sources

Be selective when choosing sources to include in your review.

Start by looking for documents that highlight major developments and theories on a topic. Look for documents that generated significant contributions to the field of study. Ensure coverage of all sides of the topic.

A good strategy is to start with the most recently published sources on your topic and search backwards. Recent studies will mention major crossroads and developments in the field, more recently and often historically. Depending on your topic, your literature review may cover some historical background with more focus on recent research, or it may cover recent and historical findings equally.

Use a range of resources including books, journal articles, websites, theses, conference papers, government document and reports to compile information on your topic.

Finding Books

Book icon

Find books in the library catalogue

An easy way to find a book is to ask someone knowledgeable on your subject - librarians, professors, advisors, etc.

If the library does not have a specific book borrow from another the library. Search for books on Worldcat and request them through Interlibrary Loan.

To get started, look up your topic in an encyclopedia and check the references at the end of the entry.

Look through the bibliography of key books for hints about leading theories, resources, and researchers in the field.

Search for theses in the Theses Canada Portal, Proquest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) and e-scholar@Ontario Tech.Thesis papers always have a literature review section.

Find Books


Use the search box to find print and electronic books in the Ontario Tech Library. To search for e-books only, go into the Library catalogue and select Ontario Tech Electronic Resources from the Library menu.

Finding Articles

Document iconFind articles under the Articles & Databases tab of in a matching Research Guides or search for articles in one of the databases in the Indexes and Databases A-Z list.

Search for articles on your subject.

Read through the literature review section of articles on your topic. Most articles contain a literature review section after the introduction.

Look for book reviews on your subject in the databases. Use Book Reviews to determine if a book covers your subject adequately and is worth reading.

Look through the bibliography of key articles for hints about leading theories, resources, and researchers in the field.

Request articles the library does not have through Interlibrary Loan.

Search Citators

Find out how many times an article has been cited by others to identify the most influential articles. Find highest impact journals using Journal Citation Reports.

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