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Searching the Literature

About Literature Searching

What is a literature search?

Searching the literature is a key part of the research process. This is how scholars—and students—find out more about a topic. 

A literature search is the first step in sharing an overview on a topic. Common types of overviews include: annotated bibliography, systematic review, and literature review.

What do I need to do for my search?

You should review your assignment requirements to determine if you need to create a specific type of literature review.

When you do a literature search, you may look at sources such as:

  • books
  • journal articles
  • grey literature (like government publications, working papers, and policy statements)

Learn more

You will probably have to do literature searches throughout your coursework.

Interested in reading more about literature searches?

Review these readings from Sage Research Methods to learn more: