What is a literature review and how do I determine if one is needed?
A literature review is a systematic approach to locating, reviewing, and evaluating the published work and work in progress of scholars, researchers, and practitioners on a given topic.
Literature reviews are done for many reasons and in many situations. Here's a short list:
to learn about a field of study
to understand current knowledge on a subject
to formulate questions and identify a research problem
to focus the purpose of one's research
to contribute new knowledge to a field
to prepare for architectural program writing
Sources to use for literature review:
Online catalogs of local, regional, national, and special libraries
meta-catalogs such as worldcat.org, artlibraries.net or RIBA
subject-specific online article databases (such as Art Full Text, Avery Index, etc)
digital institutional repositories such as Digital Commons @ RISD; see Registry of Open Access Repositories
e-Journals Index to identify journals indexed in Fleet Search, RISD's Integrated Search
Ulrichsweb to identify the international scope of periodical literature in a field
works cited in scholarly books and articles
the Internet-locate nonprofit, university, and government websites
search google scholar to locate grey literature & referenced citations
trade and scholarly publisher's websites (Ulrichsweb)
Use RISD Library's Interlibrary Loan service to request copies of items you find in these diverse places!
Who to ask for guidance:
professors & thesis committee members
experts and practitioners in one's field
librarians, peers, colleagues
Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students by North Carolina State University Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Further reading on literature reviews
Architecture - Research