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INCO 610: Research Inquiry Seminar (UNH Durham)

Introduction to research resources for students in the McNair Scholars Program

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Liz Fowler

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Elizabeth Fowler
Dimond Library
Office 323B

Research Process

Research Process Graphic

Literature Review

A literature review is a comprehensive summary of research on a topic and often summarizes and synthesizes the research as well.

Literature reviews are sometimes conducted early in the research process to provide an overview of the existing scholarship of a field of study.

A literature review can help:

  • Make you an informed researcher/applicant
  • Provide perspective by situating your work within the knowledge base (theory & practice) of your field
  • Support your research idea/proposal or identifies a gap needing further research
  • Provide ideas for research design; for example, quantitative or qualitative approaches or instruments to use
  • Provide credibility to research or grant proposals

Here are some resources with tips on conducting your literature review:

Scholarly & Peer Reviewed Articles

Scholarly (also called academic) articles are written by and for academics, researchers, and experts in the specific topic or broader subject area of the article.

Peer reviewed (also called refereed) articles are those which have been reviewed prior to publication by other experts in the topic of the article. Often reviewers are external (not members of the journal's editorial staff or board). 

To help determine if an article has been peer reviewed, you can check:

  • the database record for the article, which sometimes indicates whether a journal uses peer review
  • the journal website, especially under About Us or Information for Authors
  • the database, Ulrichsweb, and search the journal title. (Ulrichsweb uses referred rather than peer reviewed)

Note: Not everything in a journal is peer reviewed; letters to the editor, book reviews, news items, and other short works without listed references are typically not peer reviewed the way more substantive articles are.


Some Article Types

Empirical Research Articles

  • Analyze data collected by the article authors or by others

Literature Review, Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis 

  • Critically survey or analyze current state of published research on a top (doesn't include original research)

Editorial, Letter to the Editor, Article in a Column

  • Comments on or offers a perspective or opinion on a topic; doesn't require original research


Responsible Conduct of Research & Scholarly Activity