Qualitative Research

Course #: TH664I

Literature Review

For more detailed information on literature reviews, consult this chapter:

Campbell, A., Taylor, B. & McGlade, A. (2017). Reviewing the literature. In Transforming Social Work Practice Series: Research design in social work (pp. 9-26). London: SAGE Publications. doi: 10.4135/9781473909618.n2

    What is a library database?

    Navigating Library Databases

    Well developed research questions can only be developed with a comprehensive understanding of prior research and theory. This understanding is informed by research literature. The challenge is to use the appropriate tools and methods to ensure your search for this literature is both methodical and complete. Here are some steps to fine-tune your searches.

    1. Formulate specific research questions
      • identify the key elements of your questions
    2. Consider word variations and synonyms
      • widen the scope of your results; think about how others might refer to your ideas
      • e.g, academic outcomes = school performance, grades, GPA, entrance exams, college admission, etc.
    3. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)
      • AND = results will contain all the terms
      • OR = results will contain at least one of the terms
      • NOT = results will exclude the term
      • Parentheses and Boolean operators can be used to set apart search groups
      • NEAR/# = search terms within a specified number of words apart, e.g., nursing NEAR/3 education
    4. Limit or expand terms
      • "quotation marks" = exact
      • truncat* = truncate, truncates, truncated, truncation, etc.
    5. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
      • peer reviewed, article type, date
      • in PsycINFO, can include
        • age group, population group, methodology
    6. Identify key publications and authors
      • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names
    7. Document and track everything you do in the steps above

    * These steps are adapted from an article published in the October 2013 issue of Psychological Science Agenda.

    Choosing a Library Database

    Research Methodologies

    The Laurier Library also many resources devoted to research methodologies. Search Omni (and filter for books) for some of these terms: Action research; Case study; Field research; Grounded theory; Qualitative research; Quantitative research; Survey research; Textual Analysis. Also look at the online titles contained in our Sage Knowledge resource.


    If you cannot find the item in Omni

    • Requesting Interlibrary Loans video (2:26)
    • Use WorldCat to identify books available in other libraries. Use RACER to have books sent to Laurier
    • Search within ebook collections to search within the full text of available books (as opposed to searching just the title in Omni)

    Predatory Journals

    Managing Citations