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Gender & Sexuality Studies

Find Literature Reviews

Article-length literature reviews can help you become familiar with the published research in a particular discipline or sub-discipline.  Some journals are devoted to publishing this type of work, while many other journals will include this type of article alongside other research articles.

Contact Anne Zald or your liaison librarian for assistance.

Article length Literature Reviews can be published in any academic journal.  Search strategies for identifying Literature Review articles vary from database to database.

1.  In the Advanced Search option of the database, is there a Document Type filter that can be used to limit the results of your keyword search?


2.  Is a Thesaurus provided by the database? 

If 'literature review' is a searchable subject term, combine it with topical keywords or additional thesaurus terms related to your topic.

3.  Some databases provide Indexes rather than a Thesaurus.  Select the SUBJECT Index and search for the term 'literature review'.  Combine with terms that describe your topic.

Ensuring that your literature review incorporates a wide range of views by diverse scholars in your discipline is an ongoing challenge.  Neither the publishing industry, nor the peer review process itself, is free of the biases of systemic racism, or the societal biases oppressing those of non-majority gender or sexual identities, or those with differing physical abilities. One strategy is to use library databases that specifically incorporate publications serving diverse communities when searching for literature.  Examples include Ethnic Newswatch and the Gender Studies Database.  These databases and more are linked from:

Additional strategies discussed elsewhere on this guide can help reduce this bias including:

  • Identify specific scholars who have shared their identity, then follow their social media -- consult with peers, faculty advisors or guest speakers for suggestions.
  • Identify relevant conferences, organization websites, podcasts, or social media feeds to follow
  • Cited Reference Searching using the publications of scholars who have shared their identity as key works
  • Are there journals in your field not yet indexed in library databases?  Track their new issues using Alerts (if offered by the publisher website); Advanced Searching in Google Scholar allows you to specify publication title in your search which may help identify new articles / issues published by these journals.  Your subject librarian can assist you with identifying whether or not a journal is indexed.

There are efforts to highlight the expertise or published work of diverse scholars such as:

And efforts to improve the visibility, accessibility, and quality of journals published outside the dominant Western, often English-language, channels of scholarship.

Please share your successful strategies and helpful resources so they can be added to this guide to help others!!

My thanks to Brie Baumert, Gould Library, Carleton College, whose work on
Inclusive Searching identified many of the resources linked here.

Different Types of Literature Reviews

The definitions provided here were found in Sage Research Methods.

Literature review:
Narrative review is a synonym of Literature review
A literature review is a descriptive and/or analytic summary of the existing material relating to some topic or area of study. The term also refers to the process of producing such a review.

Integrative literature review:
A form of research that that generates new knowledge about the reviewed topic. Relevant literature is reviewed, critiqued, and synthesized in such a way that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic can be generated.

Statistical methods for formally contrasting and combining results from different studies in the hope of identifying patterns or other interesting relationships among study results.

Scoping review:
A review used to determine the scope or coverage of a body of literature on a given topic, and to provide a general overview of that topic. In contrast to a systematic review, which generally starts with a clearly defined question, this approach allows for a more general exploration of the related literature.

Systematic review:
A systematic review is a review of the literature that is conducted in a methodical manner based on a prespecified protocol and with the aim of synthesizing the retrieved information often by means of a meta-analysis

Writing a Literature Review