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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

Education: Literature Reviews

Use this guide to get started with educational research.

Introduction to Literature Reviews

Graduate research methods courses commonly require either a research proposal or an applied research project.  In either case, a major component of the assignment, and your grade, will be a review of the existing literature on your topic, including empirical research studies.  This guide offers an overview of literature reviews and features library resources and services that will help you be successful.

Because literature reviews differ significantly from a standard research paper or annotated bibliography, it helps a lot to gain a basic understanding of what a literature review is.  The resources below can help.

This short video used with permission from North Carolina State University Libraries offers an overview of literature review assignments.

Helpful Links

EndNote Basic, formerly EndNote Online (or Web), is a free online service that allows you to store, share and organize your citations so that you can access them from any computer. By installing the Microsoft Word plugin, you can cite references from your library and automatically create your bibliography as you write.

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a Firefox add-on that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use, lives in your web browser where you do your work, and best of all it's free. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies. It automatically updates itself periodically to work with new online sources and new bibliographic styles.