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How to Write a Literature Review - A Self-Guided Tutorial

Search the literature

Search the LiteratureIf you're working on a research project with a professor or faculty mentor, they may recommend articles to help you begin your readings of the literature. You can use these as a jumping off point to locate additional sources.


A few suggestions to help your searching:

light bulb icon Before searching, brainstorm some keywords based on your topic. The infographics below can help.

check list icon Search systematically and keep track of your search terms; this will help you figure out which search strategies provide the best results.

download icon Save and organize the articles and other sources you wish to set aside for further reading and give your files names that make sense for you, e.g. Smith_2015.pdf (Author last name_publication year.pdf).

Why Use a Concept Map?

Concept maps or tables are tools that help you brainstorm ideas, focus your topic, and identify possible keywords before using the library's databases to search for articles for your literature review.

The video below is from Penn State University Libraries.