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Education Subject Guide (archived): Literature reviews

Resources for research in the field of education

About literature reviews

A literature review (also called a research review or review of the literature) is a summary of existing research on a topic. It reviews the scholarly "literature" on that topic.  It is often a preliminary part of a publication where the author identifies and comments on previous attempts to answer a related research question. 

Help writing a literature review

Literature Reviews from UNC Chapel Hill

Undertaking a Literature Review from British Journal of Nursing, 2002

Google scholar

Google Scholar Search

Include "literature review" or "review of the literature" in your search

Locating literature reviews


(Sample search in Education Research Complete. Click on Choose Databases to add additional databases to your search, like ERIC, Academic Search Premier, PsycInfo, SocIndex, Sport Discus)

Use an Advanced Search in the databases and use your keyword(s) and "literature n5 review*" as shown in the above example.

This search looks for the words literature, review, reviewer, reviews, reviewing within 5 words of each other in any order.


Or, search for "literature reviews" in the subject field, as in the example below. 

In PsycInfo, you can limit your search to Methodology=literature review


In ProQuest Central, it's n/4 or n/5 instead of n4 or n5.  See the example.

About literature reviews, including writing one