When drawing boundaries around an idea, topic, or subject area, it helps to think about how and where the information for the field is produced.
For this, you need to identify the disciplines of knowledge production in a subject area.
A comprehensive literature review should include searches in the following: To get a better idea of how the literature in a discipline develops, it’s useful to see how the information publication lifecycle works.
These distinct stages show how information is created, reviewed, and distributed over time. The following chart can be used to guide you in searching literature existing at various stages of the scholarly communication process (freely accessible sources are linked, subscription or subscribed sources are listed but not linked): Dissertations & Theses British Library ETh OS Theses Canada Portal Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center Pub Med (limiting search results to Technical Report under Limits) Current Grey Literature Report Professional association web sites Open DOAR Journals, trade publications, and magazines are all periodicals, and articles from these publications they can all look similar article by article when you are searching in the databases.
Fields such as political science, biology, history and mathematics are unique disciplines, as are education and nursing, with their own logic for how and where new knowledge is introduced and made accessible.
You will need to become comfortable with identifying the disciplines that might contribute information to any search strategy.
Once you have that essential overview, you delve into the seminal literature of the field.
As a result, while your literature review may consist of research articles tightly focused on your topic with secondary and tertiary sources used more sparingly, all three types of information (primary, secondary, tertiary) are critical to your research.
You will find, in ‘the literature,’ documents that explain the background of your topic so the reader knows where you found loose ends in the established research of the field and what led you to your own project.
Although your own literature review will focus on primary, peer-reviewed resources, it will begin by grounding yourself in background subject information generally found in secondary and tertiary sources such as books and encyclopedias.