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Gottesman Libraries Knowledge Base .: Research Help .: Conducting Literature Reviews

Conducting Literature Reviews

Citation searching, a specialized and very valuable type of research, allows you to determine where a particular author or work has been cited by subsequent authors, frequently allowing you to trace the influence of an idea or theory among scholars and thinkers responding to it over time.

Three databases, produced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and known in the aggregate as the Web of Science, are designed expressly to search the research literature for articles citing particular works or authors; they are the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI), and the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED).  It is possible to search these indexes separately or as a group, depending on how restricted or inclusive (by subject field) you want your search to be.

Another very powerful resource for identifying works citing other works is Google Scholar, which covers a huge number of publications across disciplines and in many cases provides direct links to the citing documents.

A number of publications are themselves reviews of the literature in various disciplines and can provide authoritative overviews of research on specific topics.  For education these include:

There are also various annual reviews of research in subject fields other than education, and these are accessible through as a centralized resource at Annual Reviews.

To identify handbooks of research in educational subjects, you can search EDUCAT for titles beginning "handbook of research."  Research handbooks available online include The Handbook of Information Systems Research, the Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning, the Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts, the Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy through the Communicative and Visual Arts, and The International Handbook of School Effectiveness Research.  You may find that some of these include chapters or sections relevant to the study of computers in education.

There are a number of guides on university and academic library websites describing and detailing procedures for critically reviewing the research literature in a given subject field.  This is a selected list of online resources on the theory and practice of conducting a literature review:

There are also a number of print resources that you may want to consult if you can access them through your local library; these include:

 

You may also request a consultation with a librarian by using the ticket system: http://library.tc.columbia.edu/support.php?dq=consultation


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