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Literature Reviews

Finding seminal works

Seminal works are initial or early writings on a particular topic that had an ongoing impact on the research that followed. They may be significantly older than the range of literature you would normally include in your research, but because they are important context for understanding the field or topic, they continue to be read and cited.

You should carefully consider if you should or wish to include seminal works in your literature review. This is best done in discussion with your lecturer or supervisor.

Some resources to help you find and evaluate seminal works can be found in these guides:

Literature review books

Succeeding with Your Literature Review

This step-by-step handbook provides comprehensive and practical guidance on the process of researching a range of relevant literature on a subject, as well as planning and writing a literature review. The book takes a student friendly approach to offer complete novices a simple review of a process which is often central to producing a research study.

The Literature Review

The Literature Review is a concise step-by-step guide to conducting a literature search and writing up the literature review chapter in graduate dissertations and in professional doctorate theses. Diana Ridley describes how to carry out a literature review in a systematic, methodical way, providing useful strategies for efficient reading, conducting searches, organizing information, and writing the review itself.

Conducting Research Literature Reviews

This book provides readers with an accessible but in-depth look at how to synthesize research literature. Bestselling author Arlene Fink shows researchers how to justify the need for and significance of research, and explain a study’s findings.

One Search

One Search is a way of searching all the library's resources - books and ebooks, journals and journal articles, multimedia and more. You can find the One Search search box on the home page of the library website. You can jump right in and start searching or consult our One Search guide for tips on basic, advanced, browse and journal searching, and saving results.


Thanks to James Cook University Graduate Research School and The Learning Centre for their valuable input and resources.

Throughout this guide, when we have used material produced by others, we have tried to acknowledge the source. If you feel we have used material without proper acknowledgement, please let us know.

Birmingham City University. (2011). Critical analysis. Retrieved from

Curtain University. (n.d.) Literature reviews for postgraduates. Retrieved from

Curtain University. (n.d.) Literature reviews for undergraduates. Retrieved from

George Washington University. (2006). Tools for preparing literature reviews. Retrieved from

Keshav, S. (2007). How to read a paper. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, 37(3), 83-84. Retrieved from

Khan, A., & Khan, F. Lady looking beyond [ca. 1825]. [Image]. Retrieved from

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