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Conducting Research Literature Reviews

Conducting Research Literature Reviews
From the Internet to Paper

Fourth Edition

October 2013 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Providing readers with an accessible, in-depth look at how to synthesize research literature, Conducting Research Literature Reviews is perfect for students, researchers, marketers, planners, and policymakers who design and manage public and private agencies, conduct research studies, and prepare strategic plans and grant proposals. Bestselling author Arlene Fink shows readers how to explain the need for and significance of research, as well as how to explain a study’s findings. Offering a step-by-step approach to conducting literature reviews, the Fourth Edition features updated examples and covers:

  • how to select databases and evaluate their quality;
  • selecting and organizing key words and other terms in order to effectively search databases and the Web;
  • setting standards for evaluating the quality of research and other literature;
  • extracting and recording information from articles and studies;
  • synthesizing what the reader finds either descriptively or via a meta-analysis;
  • recording and storing the results in a virtual file cabinet; and
  • how to use bibliographic software.

1. Reviewing the Literature: Why? For Whom? How?
Part I. Research Design and Sampling
2. Searching and Screening: The Practical Screen and Methodological Quality
Part II. Collection, Interventions, Analysis, Results, and Conclusions
3. Searching and Screening: Methodological Quality
4. Doing the Review: A Reader’s Guide Chapter
5. What Did You Find? Synthesizing Results

“The text provides a thorough and comprehensive overview of the literature review process. I am particularly pleased that the text provides a detailed discussion of how best to choose online databases and provides specific strategies for obtaining optimal search results through the use of Boolean operators.” 

    —JaMuir M. Robinson, Walden University

JaMuir M. Robinson
Walden University

“The book is an in depth discussion of the literature review journey, highlighting many issues and pitfalls which could hinder the successful completion. The reader is guided through the journey with realistic advice and an explanation of key terms to ensure a successful search that is productive, fruitful and reliable.”

    —Suzanne Sinclair, University Centre at Blackburn College

Suzanne Sinclair
University Centre at Blackburn College

“I think this text presents the goals/reasons, thought-process, and practical steps involved in writing literature reviews in a much more logical and approachable (readable) manner than many I have seen.”

Julia L. Sloan, Cazenovia College

Julia L. Sloan
Cazenovia College

“The material is an exemplary mix of explication and illustrations of the steps in finding, reviewing, and evaluating the research for a literature review.”

Walter J. Ullrich, California State University, Fresno

Walter J. Ullrich
California State University, Fresno

This books provides a very good narrative for writing literature reviews and offers additionally a easy-to-follow process-oriented view for getting there. It is supported by many helpful diagrams that help students getting an overview, fast.

Dr Ralf Bierig
School of Computing, National College of Ireland
June 12, 2017

The book is usable when doing literature Reviews. Describes and guides you how to do it in a pedagogic way.

Mrs Monica Kaltenbrunner Nykvist
Health , Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies
April 1, 2016

Too expensive and specialist to recommend to students.

Miss Emily Loftus
Sport, Public Services, Travel and Tourism, South Essex College
January 6, 2016

Very thorough. A good systematic approach to Lit Reviews. Full of useful hints and tips.

Mr David Wright
Applied Psychology, University of Cumbria
June 29, 2015

excellent text

Mr Melanie Rogers
Division of Primary Care, Huddersfield University
June 3, 2015

Excellent, Succinct, and Necessary to the Topic

Dr Rose Colon
health science, Nova Southeastern University
May 14, 2015
Key features


  • A major reorientation reflects the reality that most literature searches (searches for the best available evidence), rely almost entirely on the Internet.
  • Nearly a hundred new online examples and references from the social, behavioral, and health sciences have been added.
  • A revised and updated list of online article databases provides readers with practical resources for their own literature search.
  • Case studies in the use of major online databases (e.g., the Web of Science) helps readers make the best use of these online resources.
  • End-of-chapter exercises now include more exercises on online searching.
  • The major available formal systems (such as CONSORT, TREND, and PRISMA) for evaluating the literature’s transparency and quality are covered.
  • New qualitative research examples, along with guidelines and checklists for evaluating their quality have been added, as well as new examples of mixed-methods research.
  • Additional examples of how to write up reviews provide models readers can use when doing their own write-ups.


  • Step-by-step procedures and visual examples help readers master every aspect of conducting the literature review process.
  • Online examples and case studies bring the literature review process to life.
  • End-of-chapter exercises help readers master key concepts and skills.


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