Bank Street Library Blog

Literature Reviews: Snowballing

We’ve looked at ways to find articles for a literature review using databases like EBSCOhost, ProQuest, and Google Scholar. But there are other ways too!

Reference Lists

Start with scholarly articles that really speak to your topic. Look at their reference lists and find other articles. Use our databases and Google Scholar to find full-text copies. If at all possible save them to one dedicated folder in your Google Drive, DropBox, or One Drive. Whatever you do – make a plan to save in one place. Over time your core “great articles” will snowball. As with all things more recent articles are better than older one.

Class Readings

There will always be something that is classic, foundational,  and pertinent to your topic in your course work at Bank Street. It could be a reading on Dewey, Vygotsky, Lucy Sprague Mitchell. Don’t overlook your course work for something that will ground your literature review.

Bank Street IMPs

You can find them in print and online in Educate. Go straight to the reference list and start looking for articles and books that look of interest. Again keep in mind that older ones will be less useful than recently submitted work.

Don’t Give Up on Books

It’s true that journals are where most of the “action” occurs. They’re short (maybe 10 pages), to the point, and more recent than most books. However, edited books, and monographs on your topic should not be overlooked. For the most part a lot of thought has gone into their publication.

Abstracts, Introductions, & Conclusions

Time is precious so do look at abstracts. Think of them as an article’s “calling card.” If it’s poorly written or fuzzy – move on. Let introductions and conclusions guide you; they should make you want to read an item more thoroughly. For more on read our Literature Reviews Research Guide.