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Research Methods for Social Sciences

An introduction to research design, methodology and library resources.


A comprehensive literature review often includes reviewing theses and dissertations on a topic. The UNT Libraries has two sources of electronic theses and dissertations: UNT Electronic Thesis & Dissertations (just those created by students at UNT) or ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, which includes those from other institutions. You may also request a dissertation through Interlibrary Loan if it is only available in print from the institution where the work was completed. Visit the Digital Dissertation and Theses Research Guide for search examples.

Types of Literature Review

The goal of a literature review is to explore and gather scholarly work to identify gaps in previously conducted research and justification for conducting new research. In general, there are two common ways to conduct and present literature review:

  • An exploratory way to discover the conceptual development of a topic or technique. The trends, patterns, or gaps identified from the review may be presented in a thematic, theoretical, or chronological way.
  • An analytical way to analyze interventions or outcomes from prior work to synthesize evidence (for example, a systematic review, meta-analysis, or meta-synthesis). This type of literature review is often published as a complete study.

The UNT Libraries provides several library guides on literature reviews, either in general or within a discipline:

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