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Literature Reviews

A literature review provides you with an overview of existing literature (books, articles, dissertations, conference proceedings, and other sources) in the chosen area. When embarking on a research project beginning with a literature review will allow you to:

  • Gather information about your topic, including the sources used by others who have previously conducted research
  • Find out if your specific research question has already been answered
  • Find out what areas or perspective on your topic have not yet been covered by others
  • Analyze and evaluate existing information

The literature review will assist you in considering the validity and scope of your research question so that you can do the necessary revision and fine tuning to it. This will provide the base need to formulate and present strong arguments to justify your chosen research topic.

Other resources:

  • How to Write a Literature Review (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Groat, Linda N., and David Wang. Architectural Research Methods. Hoboken: J. Wiley, 2013. NA 2000 G76 2013 and online
    see Chapter 5 What’s Your Question? Literature Review and Research Design, including 5.2 Literature Review Compared to Annotated Bibliography
  • Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. London: Sage Publications, 1998. H 62 H2566 1998
  • Machi, Lawrence A. The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press, 2009. LB 1047.3 M33 2009



  • Després, Carole. "The meaning of home: literature review and directions for future research and theoretical development." Journal of architectural and planning research 8, no.2, (Summer 1991): 96-155.
  • Eckersley, Michael. “The form of design processes: a protocol analysis study.” Design Studies 9, no. 2 (April 1988): 86-94.
  • Galasiu, Anca D., and Jennifer A. Veitch. “Occupant preferences and satisfaction with the luminous environment and control systems in daylit offices: a literature review.” Energy and Buildings 38, no. 7 (July 2006): 728-742
Indexes and Databases
Specialied in Architecture, Planning and Preservation:
  • Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts
    Articles from over 400 leading journals relevant to the international conservation field are abstracted annually. This is a free service of the Getty Conservation Institute in association with The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
    Indexes more than 2,000 periodicals published worldwide on architecture and design, archaeology, city planning, interior design, and historic preservation
  • Environment and Planning
    Provides indexing to four journals devoted to urban planning, research and design: Environment and Planning A, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, and Environment and Planning D
  • Environmental Index
    Provides abstracting and indexing information for over 1000 titles in the area of environmental policy and studies
  • PAIS International
    Bibliographic index with abstracts covering the full range of political, social, and public policy issues. Includes documents published worldwide in any of six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. The subject headings and abstracts are in English
  • Academic Searh Complete
    A comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full text database
    Includes archives of over 1,000 leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work
  • Web of Science (ISI Web of Knowledge)
    Covers more than 8,400 journals in all subject areas. Provides web access to all three ISI citation indexes, including: Science Citation Index Expanded
Other resources:
  • Google Scholar
    Search engine for academic literature. Note that it only search a small fraction of what is available through specialized databases. Particularly useful to find articles and books that cite a specific article/book.
  • Google Books
    Search engine for books and journals digitized by Google and digital editions from many publishers, note that it is limited to digital/digitized materials. Use advanced search to search by title.
  • WorldCat
    Online union catalog describing the collections of thousands of libraries around the world.
  • scoUT
    UT Libraries’ discovery tool. It is a single interface to search the combined resources provided by the University of Texas at Austin Libraries. It offers an easy and fast interface with a Google-like search box, and a large central index that includes all kinds of content, including books, journal and newspaper articles, theses and dissertations and more. For more information, see the scoUT FAQ page and scoUT search tips.
  • UT Digital Repository
    Provides open online access to research and scholarship produced at UT, including theses and dissertations
When you have a citation for a specific article or want to find a specific journal, use the catalog search by Journal Title.
Subject Specialist
Picture: Architecture Library

Architecture Library
Architecture & Planning Library GRA
Tel: (512) 495-4620

Research Tips
  • keep a research journal, include where you have looked, what you found and how you found it
  • manage your citations: use EndNote or Zotero
  • need help with your citations? use Research and Documentation Online - includes sample papers, finding sources and how to document (cite) sources in MLA, APA, Chicago and CSE.
  • check out the classes and other services your library has to offer!
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