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Embedded LibGuides: Kelly



Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out the library. We are here to help you with any question, but specifically, we are experts in finding and using information. If you are working on a research project and run into any issues or questions, we are here to help! Our homepage is a great place to get started on your research; we do know it can be a bit confusing at first, so please ask us as many questions as you want.

If you'd like some one-on-one help finding resources, click here to book an appointmentI'm happy to help!

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You can also chat or text with the librarian on duty.

Not sure where to start? Check out this video from NCSU Libraries 


Why is a literature review important?

A literature review is important because it:

  • Explains the background of research on a topic.
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area.
  • Helps focus your own research questions or problems
  • Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
  • Suggests unexplored ideas or populations
  • Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
  • Tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.
  • Identifies critical gaps, points of disagreement, or potentially flawed methodology or theoretical approaches.
  • Indicates potential directions for future research.

University of Pittsburgh. (2018). Literature reviews: Getting started. Retrieved from

Once you decide on your area of research, plan to dedicate two or three sessions to conducting a search.

You will spend time locating resources, reading abstracts, and searching through citation pages in articles and books. You should look specifically for any conclusions or claims that are directly related to the phenomenon you are studying, calls for further research, follow-ups, or limitations to existing studies, knowledge gaps in the literature, disagreements about your area of investigation.

Next, try to organize your findings by their theme. Remember that the categories you choose initially may need adjustment, so be sure to re-examine them as you go. 

Once the research is well organized into concepts, you can begin writing.

Need more details? Check this out.

Searching databases is a little different than searching online. Our databases conduct full-text searches, which means they will search all their content for the exact words you type in the search box - we call those words keywords. You should choose keywords that represent the most important part of your research topic. 

The databases rely on the operators AND, OR, and NOT to join two keywords together. So, if you are conducting a search about the effect of music style on restaurant customers' experiences, you'll want to start broadly with the keywords: music and restaurants. Always begin by casting the widest net possible, then narrow your search as you go.

As you can imagine, learning to search in this way can be a bit difficult at first, and there are a few potential pitfalls involved that I won't go into here. If, at any point, you feel frustrated or cannot find what you are looking for, ask for help from a librarian

Our most general search can be found by using the Articles tab on our homepage. This is a multidisciplinary search of 25 of our databases. Remember that, even though the database will include an index entry for most articles on your topic, it could be located in one of our other databases, or we might not have purchased access to it. In this case, you will click on the Check for Full Text link in the database to search through the remaining 50 or so databases. If the article is not available there, you will have to place an interlibrary loan request.

Without going into full detail, if you find an article that you want in our databases or online, we can get you a free copy of it - it might just take a few days.

Want to try our other databases? Here's the full list of databases we subscribe to.

Google Scholar offers the opportunity to search for many kinds of sources (from articles in popular magazines and newspapers to peer reviewed articles in scholarly journals and other kinds of information repositories) across many disciplines in one search engine.  

Once you've entered your search terms and have your results, you will access the articles through the JWU library or on the open web. 

Click on the "link to the JWU Library" to learn how to link your JWU library account to Google Scholar.

Remember that we are here to help: ask a librarian


Link to the JWU library    Find Citations in Google Scholar


Searching the web

Depending on the discipline in which you are doing your literature review, you may want to search the web for sources. Visit a 

.gov/.mil: government websites. You will find plenty of data and white papers (authoritative reports). 

.edu: educational institutions. There will likely be similar information as .gov sites.

.org: organizations of all kinds. Organizations often publish white papers and other kinds of reports but make sure you are aware of the site's purpose as it may present biased or unreliable information. 


There are various search techniques. Finding one that works for you is part of the research process but don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help

Also known as citation chaining or mining for citations, this technique takes advantage of the reference list in the article(s) that you have already found.  If you find an article that you think is great, there's a good chance the authors read some similar articles, so check out their reference list. Here's one way to locate the articles you find in a reference list.

Another option is to figure out where your great article has been cited. The easiest way to do this is to paste the title of the article into Google Scholar, then click the "cited by" link. Here's a visual explanation of that process: 

Find Citations in Google Scholar

This document demonstrates the process for finding an article under the perfect circumstances. Sometimes, it's not this easy. I could spend all day showing you the various ways to locate an article, but that would be kind of boring, even for me! If you are unable to find something, just ask me to look - usually, it only takes a minute or two to figure out how we can get you the article you need.