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Research for Literature Reviews

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Why use books and book chapters?

Not only will you want to be thorough in your searching of the TRU Library collection, but you will want to look for books that are NOT held by the TRU Library. A literature review must look at the body of research on your topic, regardless if your library has the book in their collection.

A book does not have to be read cover-to-cover to be useful for research. A book can provide:

  • information about a topic in more detail
  • history and chronology of a topic
  • background information, overview, or context to a topic
  • reference lists of more books and articles on a topic
  • an individual chapter or section that is relevant to your topic

Finding books and book chapters

Books can be difficult to find for two reasons:

  • Books are often written on broader topics than your thesis' topic
  • Book chapters and the full text of books are generally not recorded or searchable in search tools

This means that a book that may be relevant to you may not appear in your advanced keyword search. To find books, search for only one of your identified keywords or a broad version of your topic. To determine how useful a book may be, look at its Table of Contents and Index at the back of the book to see if it contains relevant information.

However, the full text of ebooks are often searchable.

To find books, search in Discover from the library homepage. Use the limiters on the left-hand side under Content Type to narrow your results to "books" and "ebooks." Remember to keep your search broad; don't use your super-specific keyword search that you use for articles.

Click here for an example search that returns many books and ebooks.

Click here for an example search that is too specific to return many relevant books.

You can search thousands of library's collections by searching WorldCat. WorldCat won't give you the digital access to the book, but it will let you know that the book exists and you can request the book for free through our Interlibrary Loans service. You can also use Interlibrary Loans to request books that you come across in other places on the Internet.

Sometimes, you will come across a book chapter that you would like to read that has been referenced in an article or book. These references will often look like article citations. This table compares the two types of citations and indicates some differences:

Article Citation (APA) Book Chapter Citation (APA)
Simons, M., Bernaards, C., & Slinger, J. (2012). Active gaming in Dutch adolescents: A descriptive study. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9(1), 118-128. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-118 Orbinski, J. (1996). New frontiers in health in a changing global context. In J.S. Ismael (Ed.), International social welfare in a changing world (pp. 137-150). Calgary, AB: Detselig Enterprises Ltd.

Note: no editors of journals indicated

Note: volume and issue information of journal -- 9(1)

Note: DOI or journal homepage link for online articles

Note: (Ed.) indicates book editors; chapter is "In" the book

Note: page range formatted as (pp.185-194)

Note: publication information at end of citation

If you are uncertain, searching for whatever title is in italics online will indicate if it is a journal title or a book title.

Because chapter titles are not findable using Discover or other search tools, you will need to locate the book itself first, then navigate through the book to obtain the chapter.

  • Here is a search for the chapter title / chapter author of the above book. Note that it does not return the right information!
  • Here is a search for the book title / book editor of the same book. The book is the first result.