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ENVS 6840: Lit Reviews


Conducting a Lit Review

A literature review is an account of what has bee published on a topic by credible scholars and researchers. The purpose is to summarize what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. 

A literature review must do these things:

  1. Be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing
  2. Synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known
  3. Identify areas of controversy in the literature
  4. Formulate questions that need further research
  5. Include sources from multiple perspectives 

A literature review is not a summary of one source after another; instead it should be organized into sections that reveal trends or themes. 

Example Literature Reviews

Finding Sources

If you find a source you like take a look at the Reference List or Bibliography to find similar sources.

For example, if we were interested in this source from Deque we could search for this article in the journal "Climate Change."

Another option is to look to see who cited the article you like. Look for keywords like cited by. 


Setting Up Alerts

Get notified when a new article is published in your area of research. All databases, including Google Scholar, have this option. 

In Google Scholar, look on the left for Create Alert.


In Proquest databases look in the top right above your results for Save Search/Alert. 


In EbscoHost databases look above your results for the Share button then select Create Alert.