Qualitative Research

Course Number: TH664I

Subject: Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy

Literature Review


  1. Powerpoint presentation (.pptx)
  2. Planning a Literature Review (video)
  3. Bhattacherjee, A., University of South Florida. Scholar Commons, & Open Textbook Library. (2012). Social science research: principles, methods, and practices. (see "literature review" on page 21)
  4. Campbell, A., Taylor, B. & McGlade, A. (2017). Reviewing the literature. In Transforming Social Work Practice Series: Research design in social work (pp. 9-26). 55 City Road, London: SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781473909618.n2


Navigating Library Databases

Well developed research questions can only be developed with a comprehensive understanding of prior research and theory. This understanding is informed by research literature. The challenge is to use the appropriate tools and methods to ensure your search for this literature is both methodical and complete. Here are some steps to fine-tune your searches.

  1. Formulate specific research questions
    • identify the key elements of your questions
  2. Consider word variations and synonyms
    • widen the scope of your results; think about how others might refer to your ideas
    • e.g, academic outcomes = school performance, grades, GPA, entrance exams, college admission, etc.
  3. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)
    • AND = results will contain all the terms
    • OR = results will contain at least one of the terms
    • NOT = results will exclude the term
    • Parentheses and Boolean operators can be used to set apart search groups
    • NEAR/# = search terms within a specified number of words apart, e.g., nursing NEAR/3 education
  4. Limit or expand terms
    • "quotation marks" = exact
    • truncat* = truncate, truncates, truncated, truncation, etc.
  5. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
    • peer reviewed, article type, date
    • in PsycInfo, can include
      • age group, population group, methodology
  6. Identify key publications and authors
    • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names
  7. Document and track everything you do in the steps above

Choosing a Library Database

Predatory Journals

Managing Citations