Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Topics in Literary Criticism: Advanced English Education Theory

Creating a literature review

How to start?

Start with a question or a problem and look for ALL of the answers or solutions. Don't limit yourself to a predetermined thesis. Allow those that came before you to guide you. You're entering a conversation that began long before you started asking questions. Be humble. 

What do you need?

Empirical research articles report research based on observed and measured phenomena. How do you know if an article is empirical? There are search tips you can utilize, as well as clues that can help you make the judgment.

  • In ERIC, you can limit your Publication Type to Reports-Research.
  • Try adding specific keywords to the abstract (study OR methodology OR subjects OR data OR results OR findings OR discussion)
  • Check each article to see if it includes methods/methodology, results, and discussion sections. 

Where to search?

Everywhere. That's not fair. Everywhere is overwhelming, but definitely in multiple places. As an undergraduate, cherry-picking a few sources from one place might have worked okay. As a graduate student, however, the goal is different. You are trying to become an expert in an area of scholarship, which means locating the depth of what has been written. This requires time and ingenuity.


Multidisciplinary/Other Disciplines

Other Resources to Know

Interlibrary Loan (is your friend)

Contrary to what Google would have you believe, most information is not free. Rod Library pays a lot of money for the resources you access through our databases, unfortunately, budgets never go as far as we wish they would. If we do not have access to the material you need, our Interlibrary Loan staff will try to get it for you. 

In addition to filling out the form, many of our databases include a yellow "Find It" button. yellow find it button

This button will sometimes open the article's full-text from another product to which we subscribe. However, if we do not have full-text access, it will take you to a library catalog (OneSearch) screen where you can "Request from ILLiad."

NOTE: You must sign in to your Rod Library account using your CatID to see this option in the library catalog.

Google Scholar (may or may not be)

Google Scholar search bar

There are some things I love about Google Scholar, but like most things, there are downsides.

  1. Because Google doesn't make money off of this product, I'm always afraid one day we will wake up and they will have decided to shut it down. (RIP Google Reader 2005-2013).
  2. Google Scholar indexes metadata from the free web. It does not actually have permission to share this scholarship. This means returns are often nothing more than abstracts and paywalls. DO NOT PAY FOR ARTICLES. Check Rod Library, use Interlibrary Loan, or reach out to your librarian for assistance.
  3. Google Scholar does not vet the journals it indexes and has been known to include predatory journals. It also includes links to school repositories which often include undergraduate research projects, which are not peer-reviewed. 
  4. Google Scholar sorts results by popularity, not relevance or date. 

When you use it, use it with your eyes wide open and always do three things:

  1. Access it through the Rod Library homepage, to also access UNI-accessible PDFs.
  2. Evaluate the results (including checking the credibility of the journal in which the article was published).
  3. Use Google Scholar IN ADDITION to other databases, not in replacement of them. 

Rod Library Google Scholar search bar