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Literature Review F&ES: Home

Literature Review Assignment

Academic literature review – A literature review takes a research question and provides a critical assessment of the body of literature already produced on that subject. Within a scientific research article, there can be a section in the introduction of the paper which is the review of past literature where you give YOUR interpretation of the research subject's development. Here the literature review is part of a primary research publication (e.g., DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1440). Alternately, when an in-depth and extensive assessment of the entire body of literature on a subject is performed and written as a "state of the art" review of the current status of the subject, and is written as a separate paper, the literature review is a secondary publication (e.g., articles in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, or article).

--Here are a couple of journal articles written on how to do a 'literature review' or a 'research synthesis.'

Qualitative Analysis Techniques for the Review of the Literature  an open-access article which means that there is no block to access

Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review  an open-access article


-Here is an excellent overview of how to write a literature review

  - University of Toronto: Writing a Literature Review

-Series of Youtube videos on Writing the Literature Review, from Univ. Maryland

      Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

University of Toronto also has excellent guides for other written materials such critical bibliographies, reviewing research articles, producing an evidence-based report. It's not just for the health sciences.

  - Writing in the Health Sciences: a Comprehensive Guide

Meta-Analysis paper - finding various research papers (primary research) and using statistical analysis to combine the research results/data from all of the studies thereby reinforce the research results or show problems in individual results


-Youtube video from American Psychological Association on How to Review (and Write) Meta-Analysis for Publication

     link to Meta-Analysis video

How to find Peer-Reviewed Journals

In academia the premier type of journal for publishing and for high-quality research papers is the peer-reviewed journal. For a good description of peer review, see the Understanding Science page on Scrutinizing science: Peer review.

So, how do you know if a journal is peer-reviewed? You can go directly to the journal's website and read the About the Journal information. For example:

Science - About Us   and Peer Review at Science   - peer review discussed at multiple places

Scientific American - About Scientific American   - no statement of peer review

You can go to the database titled Ulrich's which is a listing of of over 300,000 periodicals which include both popular and peer-reviewed titles.
See their entries for Science and Scientific American  - Science has a Refereed line while Scientific American does not.

The two major database to which Yale subscribes that contain peer-reviewed literature are:

   Web of Science      Scopus

In the How to find articles of interest section below, you can get more information on many subject-related databases along with a short description of each resource.

How to find articles of interest

First, for only peer-reviewed publications, the main source to use is the database Web of Science. This is the Premier source of Peer-Reviewed journal articles.

The databases listed below include linked resources to both peer-reviewed and popular literature. They are the best databases in the subject area which intersect the Business and Environmental worlds.

Forestry & Environmental Studies Librarian

Carla Heister
Center for Science & Social Science Information (CSSSI)
219 Prospect St., PO Box 208111
(203) 432-5132