VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Write a Literature Review

Research Librarian

John Glover's picture
John Glover
(804) 828-6555
Cabell Library, Room 121F

Want to meet to talk about your research, teaching, or projects? Please get in touch.

Research Librarian

Nita Bryant's picture
Nita Bryant
Have questions? Email or call for an appointment

A Step by Step Handbook

Chapter 4 of this Handbook provides a detailed discussion and tips on writing literature reviews.

Theses/ Dissertations

A literature review, a fundamental component of every thesis or dissertation, is typically located in Chapter 2. These sources will help you locate models for writing a literature review in your major.

Locate VCU Theses & Dissertations

Masters theses and doctoral dissertations completed at Virginia Commonwealth University are available within the VCU Librarie

Use the VCU Libraries Search to see how a literature review is written in your major. Do a search for a department or degree name. Once you've searched for the term, try limiting by Material Type, and then select "Dissertations." You may also wish to narrow by Subject if the term you searched is used in multiple fields (e.g. "history" in "art history" or "history of education").

Search VCU Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) Many of the doctoral dissertations from VCU are available online from 1996 forward and beginning in 2009, all theses and dissertations are available online.

Locate Theses & Dissertations from other Institutions

Dissertations and Theses Full Text (Proquest)

Full text for most dissertations from 1997 to the present (some earlier dissertations), along with over 2.4 million dissertations and theses citations from around the world. Graduate students customarily consult the database to make sure their proposed thesis or dissertation topics have not already been written about. Students, faculty, and other researchers search it for titles related to their scholarly interests.

The Networked Digital Library of ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations)

Collections of electronic theses and dissertations, many of which are available online through their host institutions. Includes a list of ETD search tools from countries and regions throughout the world.

Google Books

Google Books provides full-text access to many books in the public domain or out of copyright, and partial access to others.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan will attempt to borrow dissertations from other libraries. While there is no charge for this service, it is often difficult to obtain a dissertation through Interlibrary Loan. Other libraries may not be able to lend their dissertations and the only loanable copy might be in microfiche or microfilm format.

Get Help Writing Your Literature Review

If need assistance with a literature review for your thesis or dissertation, the Writing Center is an invaluable resource. One-on-one sessions with Writing Center consultants can help you plan, develop, and organize your literature review and a follow-up appointment will help you edit, proofread, and revise it.

VCU University College Writing Center


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