Make sure your research question is not too broad or too narrow. Is it manageable?
Begin writing down terms that are related to your question. These will be useful for searches later.
Meet with a librarian to help develop your search strategy.
If you have the opportunity, discuss your topic with your professor.
2. Decide on the scope of your review.
How many studies do you need to look at?
How comprehensive should it be?
How many years should it cover?
3. Select the databases you will use to conduct your searches.
Look at the Library's database page and research guides in your field to select discipline-specific databases.
Search for books using HillCat, EBook Central, WorldCat Discovery and Reciprocal Libraries.
4. Conduct your searches and find the literature. Keep track of your searches!
Review the abstracts of research studies carefully. This will save you time.
Write down the searches you conduct in each database so that you may duplicate them if you need to later (or avoid dead-end searchesthat you'd forgotten you'd already tried). Remember that some databases let you save your searches online.
Use the bibliographies and references of research studies you find to locate others.
Ask your professor or a scholar in the field if you are missing any key works in the field.
5. Review the literature.
What was the research question of the study you are reviewing? What were the authors trying to discover?
Was the research funded by a source that could influence the findings?
What were the research methodologies? Analyze its literature review, the samples and variables used, the results, and the conclusions. Does the research seem to be complete? Could it have been conducted more soundly? What further questions does it raise?
If there are conflicting studies, why do you think that is?
How are the authors viewed in the field? Has this study been cited?; if so, how has it been analyzed?
Adapted from University of West Florida, Libguide: Literature Review: Conducting and Writing