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Psy-739_Research Methods for Clinical Psy II: State of the Field Paper

Use PsycINFO

In order to determine what the nature of research methodology is in your discipline, you can start in PsycINFO and limit your search to "literature review" or "meta-analysis". This will retrieve articles whose sole methodology was literature review or meta-analysis. Rather than conduct a study with participants, etc., their study was to examine other studies done in the field. Even starting with a broad topic, limiting this way can bring down your results under 100. This can be a good way to quickly learn what methodologies are most prevalent in a particular field.

Be careful in citing literature reviews. You cannot cite anything you have not read yourself. So, if you read a literature review by Smith, you cannot say that Jones wrote something, even if you read Smith citing Jones. Instead, you should use the references to find Jones' article and read it. However, you may cite literature reviews and meta-analysis when the author(s) discuss their own concerns about gaps in the field, research needs in the discipline, etc.

Select "literature review" and/or "meta-analysis" in methodology limit, and click search

Use other databases

If you are searching outside of PsycINFO (such as another database or search engine), you can use the phrase:

literature N3 review

This will have the database search for anywhere in the document that the words "literature" and "review" appear within 3 words of each other. Thus, you'll find both articles that refer to "literature review" and to "a review of the literature".


This guide was created by Frances Brady for Adler University.