What is your literature review strategy?

Once you have refined your topic and decide on the research question, next you need to work out what kind of literature you need to review to help you answer that question.
For example, if you have Government policy and the impact on aid funds to Sub-Saharan Africa, then you are going to need to research the gaps systematically. In this case you’d need to look at literature on government policy and aid funds. There may be literature on its impact on other parts of the world, like South East Asia. Or there may be literature on trends in aid funds to Sub-Sahara Africa.

Another way to find literature is to “snowball”. If you find an article which examines something you have a lot of interest of, there are two things you should look at:

  • Work cited in the article – for deeper understanding of what the article discusses
  • Work which cites the article – for updates and further refinements

Reflective activity: My most useful online databases

Literature reviews can take a while

  • Over the years, which specific online database(s) have you found to be effective for conducting research (e.g. JSTOR; Project MUSE; ProQuest Central; SAGE Journals Online, etc.)?
  • If you’ve never used one before, go to the UOW library site and log in to one and begin reflecting upon the database’s utility in your research area/profession.


Reflective Activity: Form your literature review strategy

Now that you have your search terms, and you know the sources a little bit better, it is time to form your literature review strategy. Share your thoughts on these elements with the group via the discussion forum.

  • Which sources will you focus on? (databases, journals…)
  • Which search terms will you be using?
  • How will you filter the results you get?
  • How will you decide what to include and what to exclude from your literature review?
  • How will you organise your literature review?