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Article Search Tips: Review Article or Literature Review

This guide provides tips that can be used when searching for articles in databases; including how to locate the full text of articles.

What does it mean?

It is an article that:

  • Provides a critical review of previously published research on a specific topic.
  • It will give an overview of current state of the topic and what future research should be done.
  • It may also point out places where their are gaps or inconsistencies in the research.
  • It will not present new experimental results.

Why use them?

  • These types of articles provide you with a guide to what types of research has already been done, so you can look at those sources while developing your own research or thesis.
  • It will help you find original research.
  • It can also help you decide on a new experiment or avenue of research that will further the knowledge in a particular area.
  • Professionals may also find them useful in a particular field, such as a doctor, may use it keep up with current research in their field.


How do I know if it is?

  • There will not be any new or original research presented.
  • It may be stated in the article's title, abstract or introduction that it is a review or literature review.
  • It may even state it on the first page of the article or be in a special review article section in the journal.
  • It will be found in scholarly journal.
  • It will often provide information on how it was conducted and what resources were used (specific databases or indexes that were used, for example, PsycInfo, Medline, etc.)
  • It will state if there limiting factors - such as covering research from a specific time period rather than just from all time.

For Example:

Stirring a Secret Sauce: A Literature Review on the Conditions and Effects of Authentic Learning

Nachtigall, Valentina ; Shaffer, David Williamson ; Rummel, Nikol . 

Educational Psychology Review ; Vol. 34, Iss. 3,  (Sep 2022): 1479-1516.

As you can see in this snippet from the abstract it also indicates that it is a literature review

"The present conceptual literature review analyzes 50 studies that systematically examined the effects of authentic learning settings on cognitive or motivational learning outcomes."

Additionally when you view the pdf of this article in indicates it is a review article at the top of the first page.

Review Article label

Available in ProQuest

Finding in a Database

  • You can also try limiting by adding keywords to your topic.

A Selection of Databases with Limiters

Below are some of the library databases that can aid you in limiting your research, depending on your area of study.

Keywords to use

Some terms to try include: (yes put the quotes around it to keep the words together)

"literature review" or "review article" or "review of literature"

For example if you wanted to find literature reviews about social media, searches you could try include:

Search: "social media" AND "literature review"

Example article:

Conspiracy theories in online environments: An interdisciplinary literature review and agenda for future research

Mahl D, Schäfer MS, Zeng J. New Media & Society. 2023; 25(7):1781-1801

Search: "social media" AND "review article"

Example article:

The Use of Social Media and Wikis in Teaching Writing Skills: A Review Article.

Haidari, M..; KatawazaiI, R.; Yusof, S. M. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies. v. 14, n. 16, p. 168–179, 2020.

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