Find the good articles

Learn what literature reviews are and how they can be a great help when searching for literature for your assignments.


Texts being studied

It may be hard to find the good academic articles and books when you commence a new assignment on a relatively unknown topic.
Perhaps your collection of literature is a bit random or you rely on the material presented on the curriculum.

How do you find the good and important articles and books in an area you do not know in advance?

A good starting point

Literature reviews are a great place to start when you dive into a new subject.
One or more researchers have read a lot of articles and books. Subsequently, they have written an article about the research that already exists in the literature. They point to the most important authors and you often find a section describing where there is a lack of research in the field.

Once you find a literature review that deals with your subject area, you have found a gold mine of references and authors that you can do further searches on. Additionally, you get suggestions for areas not yet thoroughly examined. These areas not already covered by others are obvious possibilities for you to research and write about.

How to find literature reviews

Several databases on the CBS Library website are excellent choices when searching for literature reviews.

We recommend that you try the Social Science Citation Index (Web of Science) and Scopus. They work roughly the same, but have different subject strengths.
The searches look similar in the two databases.

  1. First, you add keywords that cover your topic. Choose to search for the words throughout the article, title, abstract, full text, etc.
  2. Then add words that capture phrases such as "literature review" or "analysis of the research".
    To do this, add the words [literature OR research]. Choose to search for these words in the title only.
  3. Lastly, add [review * OR analysis * OR synthe]. Choose to search for these words as subjects/keywords/topics.

When you put OR between the words, it means that, you want results where at least one of the words occurs. The star after the words means that you get more variations of the words such as review and reviews.
Of course, you cannot always expect the articles title to contain the words literature, research or bibliometric. However, if you do not limit searching in the title field, the result becomes far too fuzzy.


Scopus: Example of search for literature review on sustainable tourism
 Screenshot from Scopus

Web of Science: Example of search for literature review on sustainable tourism
 Screenshot from Web of Science


Writing literature reviews yourself

If you become excited by the genre, you can also do literature reviews yourself. Some assignments even require that you make a review of the literature.
CBS Library has several books about writing literature reviews. Here are some of them:

If you need help

Please visit CBS Library and talk to a librarian if you need help or inspiration for your literature searches.
Also, look at 5 clever search techniques - an article about using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to make searches more accurate and get better results.
You can also sign up for one of our courses in the CBS Library Calendar.

The page was last edited by: CBS Library // 11/10/2021