Books, articles and resources beyond Vassar; see the Primary Sources page for more.
You will likely go through the search process a number of times, performing different searches with different keyword combinations, to address the different components of your literature review.
|#1 Identify your question. Identify the key concepts and related terms. Tip: You may want to re-phrase your question. Background reading can help you identify related terms and further define or narrow your topic.||Explore reference lists to locate other articles, books, or authors who have written on the same topic.|
|#2 Find an appropriate search tool. Consider your subject matter, discipline of study, type of information needed (e.g. peer reviewed articles)||Locate cited by literature to view more recent similar or adjacent research.|
#3 Start with a simple search based on your key concepts. Tip: You may also have to look at literature that refers to one (not all) aspects of your research question.
|Browse the table of contents of relevant journals and special issues.|
#4 Use specific search strategies.
|Locate an expert in the field and browse their publications.|
|#5 Search and skim results. Look for the language and terms that researchers use and that the database assigns to articles; identify and search or refine your results using subject headings.|
|#6 Switch up your searches. Use promising new terminology. Your search may become more sophisticated.|
Synthesis grids are organizational tools for recording the main concepts of your sources and can help with connecting your sources to one another.
Vassar Library Search and many of our databases platforms (Ebsco, ProQuest, etc.) allow users to create free accounts where you can save searches and items from results lists.
Zotero is a free easy-to-use citation management tool to help you collect, store, organize, cite, and share your research sources. Zotero can format in-text citations and generate references lists using your preferred citation style.
More information about citing and style guides on the Citing & Managing Sources.
Trello is a free project management software. You can use it for setting deadlines, keeping track of tasks and more. See Organizing the research process using Trello to get started. There are free and paid versions; I use the free version almost daily.
Somewhat similar to Trello, Google Keep is best used for visualizing tasks and creating checklists.
An platform for notes and electronic notebooks. Free and paid versions, both cloud-based and desktop versions.