Literature review
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Literature Review. Agenda. What is a Literature Review? Literature Review Components. Key Databases. Internet as a Source of Info. What is a Literature Review?. Comprehensive collection of information based on a construct. Means of justifying a research question. What’s The Point?.

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Literature Review

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Literature review

Literature Review



  • What is a Literature Review?

  • Literature Review Components.

  • Key Databases.

  • Internet as a Source of Info.

What is a literature review

What is a Literature Review?

  • Comprehensive collection of information based on a construct.

  • Means of justifying a research question.

What s the point

What’s The Point?

  • The current knowledge base.

  • Support for the question.

  • Questions still unanswered.

  • Opportunity for ideas.

  • Never complete – only a snapshot.

How do i start

How Do I Start?

  • SPECIFY a topic of interest.

  • Easier to induct than deduct.

  • Ensures quality if using narrow focus.

Sources of ideas

Sources of Ideas

  • Common Sense – does the early bird truly get the worm?

  • Observations – the role of “serendipity” – Pavlov’s dogs.

  • Theories – Descriptions of “facts” that organize and explain phenomena.

  • Also generates new knowledge - additional hypotheses.

Sources of ideas1

Sources of Ideas

  • PAST RESEARCH – theory/hypothesis generation based on past results.



  • Develop a listing of all words that could represent your construct:

  • “Cats” – cat, feline, kitten, Siamese, pets, animals

  • Also be sure to consider plural words and alternate spellings.

  • Orthopedic, orthopedics, orthopaedics

Where do i look

Where Do I Look?

  • Learn your databases – Pub Med, Current Contents Connect, Psych Info, etc.

  • Learn your journals – Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, Journal of Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, Rehabilitation Education, RehabPro, Rehabilitation Psychology, Journal of Counseling and Development, etc.

Where to look

Where To Look

  • Meet your librarians.

  • Attend the FREE library classes offered throughout the semester.

  • Ask the professors and Ph.D. students.

Using the databases

Using The Databases

  • All databases are different in some shape or form – most upgrade regularly.

  • When first using, access the HELP or GUIDE option.

What details

What Details?

  • Booleans – using the AND, OR, and NOT functions.

  • Truncation – using a portion of a word to locate all similar words.

  • Ex. – rehab*

  • Be careful though….

  • Ex. – ortho* could pick up orthopedics, orthodontics, orthodox

More details

More Details

  • Nesting – the combination of Booleans and truncation

  • Example – (foot OR feet) AND diabet*

  • Phrase Searching – using quotations to find specific phrases – “functional impact of disability”

How much info is good enough

How Much Info Is Good Enough?

  • Depending on your topic’s specificity, the info you need to cover may vary.

  • Attempt to find the most recent literature available.

  • Again, a lit review is never complete.

The databases

The Databases

  • Focus on Pub Med and Current Contents Connect (CCC).

  • The number of databases that will provide info specifically for your topic of interest will vary on subject matter.

E journals


  • Full-text articles via the library web site.

  • HTML and PDF format – it is advisable to select PDF format if given the option.

  • Not every journal is available in full-text, which means we still have to go to the library sometimes.


Pub med

Pub Med

  • Pub Med (formerly MedLine) – difficult but comprehensive.

  • Lots of bells and whistles.


Literature review


  • Current Contents Connect – most up-to-date.

  • Also connected to Web of Science and the Journal Citation Report.


Reference manager

Reference Manager

  • Not a database, but can be used while searching Pub Med.

  • Creation of reference pages by entering each source in APA format for you.

  • Unfortunately, the software is costly and it’s best to find someone who has it already.


Accessing the internet

Accessing The Internet

Research Implications

Web searching

Web Searching

  • Using the Internet to educate/research.

  • Five major issues need to be addressed when using web sources for research.



  • How valid is the information – was it done by a professional in the field or by someone with Netscape Composer?



  • What are the author’s qualification for providing the information?



  • Was there bias and/or persuasion in the information?



  • Is the information still accurate or up-to-date as it may (or may not say) it is?



  • Great info or does it scratch the surface of the topic – is this good stuff or filler?

Web site reliability resources

Web Site Reliability Resources

  • When in doubt, use the following sites to offer assistance in determining reliability:



Sounds too risky

Sounds Too Risky…

  • Validity and reliability threats – seek PEER-REVIEWED journal articles.

  • Critiqued for weaknesses prior to publishing – in theory provides best info.

  • Consider journal rating.

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