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Conducting a Literature Review for the Social Sciences

Document Your Progress

  • Because research is an iterative process, you will most likely return to searching for information several times during a project. You'll save time in the long run by keeping a research log that tracks what's worked and what hasn't.
  • Note the successful search terms for particular databases.
  • Pay close attention to author-supplied keywords for articles on your topic.
  • Return to databases or other resources to try searching with newly discovered terms.

Simple Ways to Organize your references

Create free accounts with the database vendors to save searches and references in one place.

  • Create a free EBSCOhost account (many social sciences databases are available via EBSCOhost platform e.g. PsycINFO, Academic Research Premier, etc.)
    • Click on the "Sign In" link at the top of the EBSCOhost database page.  This will save references added to the folder.
    • Please remember that after logging on to your EBSCOhost account, only references added to the folder will be saved.
  • Create a free ProQuest account for ProQuest Central (a large multidisciplinary database)
    • Click on the "My Research" icon on the upper right of the ProQuest database page. 
  • Another option is to create a Google Doc and save your searches there. You can also save citations for articles.

Citation Management Tools

Citation managers allow you to import and store your the citation information for books and articles (and more) as you research. Then you can create reference lists for papers and projects as needed.