A literature review will help you to formulate the problem you are tackling, to know what research has already been carried out on your subject and what aspects are under-researched, and will also tell you about the relevant theories, important variables etc.

A good starting place to find further relevant literature is to simply look at the articles and books your text books refer to. A more systematic review can be done using the academic databases and search engines like Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. Often, you will find a large amount of literature relevant to your topic; articles and books that have been frequently cited by others can be prioritised. References in articles can be used to find older literature and the option ‘cited by’ can be used to find newer literature. Use the SFX link to see whether the article or book is available at our university.

Make sure to keep a good record of where you get your information from. You are advised to download and install a programme like EndNote which will help you to manage your references and bibliography. All aforementioned databases and search engines allow direct and automatic importation of citations into EndNote (and similar programmes).

When creating a list of references at the end of the paper, use one single style. At his university we suggest using the APA style. Help on citations can be found here. A list of do’s and don’ts when referring to literature can be found here.


Basic readings

Babbie, Earl (2004). The Practice of Social Research (12th edition). Belmont: Wadsworth/Thomson. Chapter 17.