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Literature Reviews: 2. Identify Databases & Resources to Search

This interdisciplinary guide describes the basic steps of doing a literature review.

Where to Look?


For the humanities and social sciences the most relevant databases will be Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, ERIC, Sociological Abstracts, PsycInfo. 

For most health-related research, the best place to search will be MEDLINE and CINAHL, but be sure to check other subject-specific databases such as Ageline, and Global Health.

Click this link to find more databases specific to your area of study.  Search the Library Catalog for books.

Grey Literature

There are many definitions of grey literature, but it is usually understood to mean literature that is not formally published in sources such as books or journal articles.  It may be described as ephemeral, invisible, informal, underground, etc., that is, literature that may be unevaluated, not peer-reviewed.

Grey Literature exists in many formats: reports-including preprints; preliminary progress and advanced reports; institutional, internal, technical, and statistical reports; research memoranda; state-of-the-art reports; market research reports; reports of commissions and study groups; as well as
* theses
* conference proceedings
* technical specifications and standards
* translations (not distributed commercially)
* bibliographies
* technical and commercial documentation
* official documents (issued in limited numbers)

About finding articles

Articles are typically the most important type of source for many types of research.  The most efficient way to find articles on a topic is to search a database, which allows you to search for articles from hundreds of journals at once.  Each database searches different sets of journals, so usually you'll want to search several databases.All of the databases listed on this page are accessible from off campus. Off-campus users will be prompted for their Campus ID/password.

    Getting the full article

    First, look for a direct link to the article. Specifically, look for links that say HTML Full Text or PDF Full Text.

    If you don't see one of these links, look for a button next to article you want.

    Ask a librarian
    for help if you can't find what you need!