Scholarly review articles can be important starting points for research in the social sciences and humanities, 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.
There are two ways to find review articles, through Review Sources and Article Databases
Many article databases have features that can limit your search results to retrieve literature reviews. Below are some of the most popular databases in the social sciences.
NOTE: Even if your database doesn’t tag review articles specifically, you may find them on your own by adding ‘literature review’ or similar phrase as a keyword to your search topic in any database.
HINT: Many researchers will search more than one database. It is common to start in the broad databases (Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, Web of Science) and then move to a subject-specific database that’s relevant to your topic.
These three databases cover a variety of subjects in the social sciences, and cover high quality academic journal articles. Use them if you want to cover all top-tier academic literature in one search, or if your topic does not apply to only one discipline.
|Database||What to Do|
|America: History & Life||SU “literature reviews”|
|Applied Science & Business Retrospective/Applied Science Full Text||Setting the Document Type (bottom of search page) to “Bibliography” or “Review Article” may be useful, and/or try keyword “literature review”|
|Communication Abstracts||SU “literature reviews”|
|Education Source||Setting the Document Type (bottom of search page) to “Bibliography” or “Review Article” may be useful, and/or try keyword “literature review”|
|ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)||DE=”literature reviews”|
|Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective||Setting the Document Type (bottom of search page) to “Bibliography” or “Review Article” may be useful, and/or try keyword “literature 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”|
|PAIS Archive||DE=”peer review”|
|Project Muse||Use keyword “literature review”|
|PsycINFO||Methodology: Literature Review|
|Readers' Guide Retrospective|
|Sage full-text collections||Use keyword “literature review”|
|Sociological Abstracts||DE=”literature review”|
|Urban Studies Abstracts||SU “literature reviews”|