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*Datasets & Statistics Guide: Literature Review

This guide is UST Libraries primary resource for tips on locating statistics for general use and especially to find datasets for courses with a statistics or analytical focus across the curriculum.

What is a Literature Review?

For this assignment, the literature review is part of the Introduction section of the report. The purpose is to find and synthesize prior scholarly works that illuminate your research question and help explain why your proposed independent variables/predictors explain the variation in your dependent variable(s).

Hint: don't fixate or be discouraged by the mathematics/statistical techniques discussed in the articles; they are written by experts and may contain content that you have not yet learned. Instead, focus on the discussion of why variables were selected, or the economic or other real-world relationships the authors are trying to explore and explain.

Finding Scholarly Articles

Search Articles, Books, & More with LibrarySearch

Search Tips:

  • to focus your search, use the limits on the left side of the result page
  • try the Peer Review limit to focus your results on scholarly articles
  • learn more about LibrarySearch

How to Read a Journal Article

Good Search Terms

Google gives you millions of hits when you search, many of questionable quality. Use our library resources to focus your search on academic research.


Start with a strategy:

  • write the topic down in the form of a sentence or question
  • identify the key concepts of the question
  • brainstorm at least one or two synonyms for each of these concepts
  • search each of your concepts separately (you can have 2 or more related terms in a concept)
  • use the Boolean operators (and, or, not) to combine the results that you get in the previous step
  • as you find good articles, examine the records for subject headings, which are the descriptors used by the indexers to identify topics. Use these as additional synonyms for your search concepts
  • mine the references and bibliographies of good sources you find for additional ideas

If you are having trouble thinking of search terms, try making a table asking who, what, where, how, or when.