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Literature Reviews: Find Scholarly Articles

Comprehensive guide to finding information sources for a literature review for an honours, master's or PhD thesis.

Find Scholarly Articles

Look for databases in your discipline to search for scholarly articles

UBC Library Research Guides list article indexes and databases relevant to that subject area (plus other information sources). You may need to use databases from several Guides depending on your research area. For example: political science and women's studies;  chemical engineering and environmental studies, etc.

Following Citation Trails or Citation Tracking

More Information

Citation Tracking - University of New England (Australia)
This guide provides more information on

  • the principle of citation tracking
  • tracking citations using Web of Science
  • tracking citations using Google Scholar

(Note that UBC Library does not subscribe to Scopus.)

Also check the article indexes for your discipline listed in the relevant UBC Library Research Guide. Some include citation information.

How do I search a database for a literature review that someone has written already?

It depends on which database you're using. Some databases include "literature review" as one of the limit options you can set before or after doing your search: your search will retrieve only literature reviews. 

However in most databases, you will have to add a term for "literature review" to your search. You'll soon get to know the terms that your discipline uses for literature reviews, one or more of

  • review article
  • systematic review
  • critical review
  • literature
  • bibliography
  • meta-analysis, meta analysis 
  • re-analysis of data

 

Tips for Database Searching

  • Most databases have an online Help feature. Very useful for learning the specifics of searching that database.
  • Keyword searching: Figuring out the best search words is one of the biggest challenges to searchers. It's often best to start with a simple search with the basic concepts and search words or phrases. Look at initial search results for more search terms, subject headings, specific authors and journals that may be useful in modifying your search.
  • Connecting your search terms - online guide on Boolean searching from the Library of Congress
    • AND is used to narrow or limit results; results will include ALL your search words or phrases. It is used for connecting different concepts.
      Search statement
      : chocolate AND health.
    • OR is used to expand results; results will include ANY of your search words or phrases. It is used for connecting synonyms.
      Search statement
      chocolate OR cocoa
    • NOT is used to exclude results; results will exclude specific search words or phrases.
      Search statement: chocolate NOT milk
    • Using parentheses: if your search statement includes more than one connecting term, you must use parentheses to indicate how to complete the search. This is called nesting.
      Search statement: ((chocolate OR cocoa) AND health) NOT milk