Finding Books and Articles for a Literature Review
- What is a Literature Review and How Do I Begin?
- Finding Books/Articles/Dissertations
- Citing Your Resources
What is a Literature Review?
A first step in the research process is the literature review, which helps to shape your research question. A literature review requires the author to identify, critically analyze and synthesize a set of useful articles and books on a particular topic. Often associated as a section within a dissertation, a literature review is characterized by the emphasis on sources, which are organized, summarized and synthesized with the goal of providing a new interpretation of old material or a trace of the intellectual progression of the field.
Through a literature review, an author demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of the literature and the importance of the proposed research topic and its timeliness. The topic is also illustrated as distinct and different from previous work done on the topic while it builds upon and critiques that knowledge.
How Do I Begin?
The University of Florida Libraries offers hundreds of databases researchers can use to explore the literature and to compose an academic paper. At the Education Library, resources collected support the 26 academic degree programs in the College of Education focusing on teaching and learning; educational administration and policy; special education; counselor education; and educational psychology. This breadth of resources can be overwhelming. To help reduce the anxiety of research, this guide and each subject page (linked above) are intended to help navigate the researcher through the variety of book and article resources available.
Finding Library Books
Search the Library Catalog to locate books, electronic books, multimedia, reports and other materials held by the Education Library and other UF Libraries across campus. Using the Subject Headings found in the full record for materials matching your research interests can lead you to other resources held by the libraries. Note too that you can also browse library books using call numbers to locate specific ranges appropriate for your topics. Use this browsing guide to discover where to begin!
Database selection is an important step in the literature review process. The librarians at the Education Library have identified key databases for use by researchers and students interested in topics in education. These databases have varying coverage of publication types (including journals, magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, reviews, reports and book articles) and coverage dates, but all contain resources for research in education. Many contain full text content which enables the researcher to view the full article online. Because the libraries pay for access to these databases, they require login when used off campus. Please review this access page to learn how UF affiliates can connect to these resources.
Articles and other secondary sources of information are available using Education Full Text (1983 to date) and Education Full-Text Retrospective (1929-1983). The Professional Development Collection is also useful for educators to find appropriate literature. In addition, ERIC, which is a collection sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, provides access to journal articles, books, research syntheses, conference papers, technical reports, policy papers, and other education-related materials. The ERIC database provides bibliographic information of more than 1.1 million citations on education topics going back to 1966 and also provides full text sources.
Other article databases with citation or full text coverage include JSTOR (full e-journal database), Academic Search Premier (multidisciplinary database with full text), Web of Science (multidisciplinary citation database), and LexisNexis Academic (full text newspaper database with limited legal (court cases and legislative) and medical resources). Other databases listed on the key databases page offer specific subject emphasis for counseling and psychology topics (PsycNET, PsycInfo, and Mental Measurements Yearbook (a comprehensive guide to over 2,000 contemporary testing instruments)). Though these are the recommended databases to use for topics in education, more education databases are available.
Please note that because some of these databases only provide the citation and abstract, you will need to click on the to discover if the article is available in full text from another subscription database or if the journal is held in the collection (search UF Library Catalog).
Citing Your Resources
Once you have compiled and analyzed articles and books found using the databases described above, proper citation of the works is necessary. The Writing Resources page provides links to specific Manuals of Style and access to the library-provided RefWorks Bibliographic Management Tool.