Writing a Literature Review

Gather Background Information

Background information is crucial to understanding your topic and getting ready to search for sources.

Taking time to do background research will actually make your search process go faster and easier in the long run. Take about 20 minutes at the beginning of research process to do this and when you are searching for sources, you'll find that it is easier to come up with search terms and much easier to spot quickly which articles are relevant and which aren't.

While reading background information you'll want to jot down key terms and names that you can search on when finding books and articles on your topic. Many sites also include a bibliography that can lead you to more resources.  

There is nothing wrong with starting with a good old fashioned Google Search at this point in the process. Reading a few articles on Google can help you get not only a broad overview of your topic but might give you ideas on how to narrow down your search as well.

What about Wikipedia? Wikipedia is a great place to start research, especially in popular culture or current affairs. Wikipedia can give you key terms and names to research and provides links to resources but Wikipedia is not an appropriate source to cite in a research paper.