Other Useful Guides for Getting Started

Literature Review Overview

NCSU Libraries has a great overview of the literature review process in the video below.

Video: Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students

Research strategy

Welcome!  Get started on your research for your literature review and consulting project.

Some helpful hints...

  • Questions? Don't hesitate to Ask A Librarian! We can answer your questions via email, or set up a time to meet in-person or via Zoom.
  • Begin by familiarizing yourself with current and available information and generating keywords and phrases about your topic. Then, search for those keywords and phrases using:
    • The Library Catalog (for books and other general information resources)
    • Databases and other specialized resources in this guide
  • Set up your research strategy and information management
  • Research background information about your topic
  • Do a preliminary literature search in major databases
  • Discover web resources,"grey literature" (non-peer-reviewed scholarly and substantive info), government info, statistics, etc. 
  • Gather or generate analysis of your own information
  • Be sure to evaluate what you are finding! 

The Process of Developing a Research Question


  1. Research Topic
    • The Topical area where the research question falls under
  2. Research Problem/Objective
    • Specific problem on which the research question is formulated
  3. Research Question
    • The actual question the researcher seeks to answer via a research study
  4. Hypothesis
    • Predictive statement about expected outcome of the research

Finding your Research Question

  • Can it hold your interest?
  • Can it pass the "so what" test?
  • Is the research question well-grounded in existing research?
  • Are all the terms in the research unambiguous and operationally definable?
  • Is answering the research question feasible given the constraints of time, budget, expertise, personnel and ethics?