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Review Sources: Research Literature Reviews


Scholarly review articles can be valuable starting points for research, because they attempt to convey the research output of a discipline or topic. They report the nature of the research, in terms of its empirical findings, theoretical development, methodology or historical development.

Many article databases have features that focus your search to retrieve literature reviews. The charts below detail those features in some of the most popular databases. Even if a particular database doesn’t specifically tag review articles, though, you can often find them on your own by adding ‘literature review’ as a search keyword.



These databases cover academic journal articles across a variety of subjects. It's common to start searching for review articles in multidisciplinary databases such as these, and then move on to subject-specific databases relevant to the topic. Off-campus access to all resources (except Google Scholar) is limited to current UCSD affiliates.

 Database  What to Do
 Academic Search Complete  SU “literature reviews”
 Google Scholar  Use as keyword "literature review"
 Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective  Use as keyword "literature review"
 JSTOR  Use as keyword “literature review”
 Project Muse  Use as keyword "literature review"
 Readers' Guide Retrospective  Use as keyword "literature review"
 Sage Full Text Collections  Use as keyword "literature review"
 Web of Knowledge  With Refine Results, check "Review" under Document Type


 Database  What to Do
 America: History & Life  SU “literature reviews”
 Applied Science & Technology Full Text  Set the Document Type to “Bibliography” or  “Review Article”
 Communication Abstracts  SU “literature reviews”
 Education Source  Set the Document Type to “Bibliography” or  “Review Article”
 ERIC  DE=”literature reviews”
 GeoRef  DE=”critical review”
 IIBP: International Index to Black Periodicals  Document Type = Literature review
 International Index to the Performing Arts  Document Type = Literature review
 Music & Performing Arts Online  Document Type = Literature review
 PAIS International (Public Affairs Information Service)   DE=”peer review”
 PsycINFO  Methodology: Literature Review
 Sociological Abstracts  DE=”literature review”
 Urban Studies Abstracts  SU “literature reviews”