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Chemical Laboratory Technology: INST 396

Chemical Laboratory and Analysis resources


The Library is here to support you while you complete your final projects for INST 396. In addition to our resources, we can also help you with your research and citation. This page contains information to help you with your Literature Reviews. If you need further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact your Liaison Librarian.

Literature Search

A Literature Search helps you to understand the current applications and find supportive research for your Capstone projects. Always remember to cite all work that is not your own. 

1. Search Strategy

An important first step when searching for literature is to develop a search strategy. Your search strategy helps you to think about what you want to find and which search words would be most effective to find it. Having a search strategy can help you find the most relevant literature for your project.

  1. Watch the following video and write down your project topic as a sentence or question.
  2. Identify the key concepts of your topic and brainstorm related terms. 

2. Search the Library

Once you have identified the key concepts of your topic and brainstormed related terms, you can start your search. Your Literature Search can include a variety of different types of sources. Use the Library to find: 

  • Articles (Academic/Research Journal articles, Trade Journal articles, Newspaper articles, Magazine articles),
  • Books (eBooks or print),
  • Conference Presentation Papers
  • Reports (annual reports, market reports, government reports),
  • Videos (news reports, documentaries, instructional, educational),
  • Standards & Codes (Chemical Technology standards),
  • and more.

Watch the short video below to see how you can use the Library to find good quality sources for your Literature Search. 

Literature Reviews

Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose of a literature review is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.

A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject (such as a journal article). In either case, its purpose is to:

  • Place each work in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the subject under review
  • Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration
  • Identify new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in, previous research
  • Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies
  • Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort
  • Point the way forward for further research
  • Place one's original work (in the case of theses or dissertations) in the context of existing literature

The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary scholarship

Adapted with permission and thanks from How to Write a Literature Review  created by Concordia University Libraries.

A literature review should include:

  • An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review
  • Division of works under review into categories (e.g. those in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely)
  • Explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others
  • Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research

Adapted with permission and thanks from How to Write a Literature Review  created by Concordia University Libraries.

Preparation of a literature review may be divided into four broad stages:

  1. Define your topic: you must define your topic and components of your topic.
  2. Search for materials: use search tools (such as the library catalogue and our specialized databases) to find materials about your topic.
  3. Evaluate what you have found: read and evaluate what you have found in order to determine which material makes a significant contribution. to the understanding of the topic
  4. Analysis and interpretation: provide a discussion of the findings and conclusions of the pertinent literature.

Adapted with permission and thanks from How to Write a Literature Review  created by Concordia University Libraries.

For help with stages 3 & 4, refer to the Literature Review Worksheet below to organize your evaluation of the literature. 

Specialized Databases - Chemistry

Try using one of the following science-specific databases to narrow your search. 

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