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Centennial Research Networking Group

Resources to support members of Centennial's Research Networking Group

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a systematic synthesis of previous research on a topic.

Literature reviews are the first step in your graduate studies research.

Steps in the Literature Review Process

  1. Define your research question. Consider:
    • Setting: What is the context of your inquiry?
    • Population or Problem: Who or what are you investigating?
    • Intervention or Idea of Interest: What are you measuring, doing or changing?
    • Comparison or Control Conditions: Are there any comparison groups?
    • Evaluation: How are you measuring outcomes? What outcomes are you interested in?
  2. Identify sources for published and grey literature
    • Library Databases
    • Professional organizations
    • Think tanks, policy institutes, NGOs
  3. Plan a systematic search strategy
    • Identify key concepts & keywords
    • Map to relevant controlled vocabulary (subject terms)
    • Replicate the strategy across multiple databases
  4. Collect & organize references using citation management software
  5. Screen results for inclusion in the literature review
  6. Read and synthesize the literature as it relates to your research question

More Information

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