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Research for Literature Reviews

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Why Core Sources?

Core sources, such as handbooks, companions, subject specific encyclopedias, and review articles will help you:

  • learn about your topic and how concepts relate to one another
  • understand the history and current state of knowledge
  • identify key works and theorists
  • find out how the subject has grown and changed
  • discover gaps in the knowledge base

There is value and convenience in searching for research information on the open internet, but researchers who rely on online only information as a primary research sources limit the thoroughness of their literature review.

To get some contextual background information on your topic, add:

AND (encyclopedia OR handbook)

to your basic search in Discover, then limit to books. This will give you resources that will help you formulate your specific topic and get some background knowledge.

Click here for an example search.

Most subject guides will have a tab called "Books to Get You Started" that contains core sources highlighted by the liaison librarian. These will help you identify key authors, titles, and issues.