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Literature Review: The What, Why and How-to Guide — How to Pick a Topic

This guide will help you understand what is a Literature Review, why it is important and how it is done.

Picking a Topic and Keywords to Research your Topic

Like writing a research paper, you need to have a topic in mind when writing a literature review. If you haven't select a topic yet for your literature view or you feel that your topic is too broad, this advice may be useful for you!

The key to successfully picking a topic is to select one that is not too broad (and impossible to do) but also not too narrow (and not finding any research about it). This page offers you several option to brainstorm and develop a research/lit. review topic and keywords that then you can use to search our many databases. Feel free to explore these different options and to contact me any time if you need more help!

Image Info: example of a Concept (or Mind) Map on the broad topic, nervous system. Each branch refers to a possible narrow topic to focus your research.

Concept Mapping example

Concept Mapping

Concept mapping, a way to visualize a topic possible dimensions, is a helpful tool to narrow down a very broad topic. This is an excellent video to introduce you to this tool, a way to brainstorm to develop keywords that you can use when searching for articles and books in databases


Picking a topic and search terms

Below are some useful links and handouts that help you develop your topic. Check the handouts in this page. They are useful to help you develop keywords/search terms or to learn the best way to search databases to find articles and books for your research.