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LD ST 422: Leadership Studies Capstone Research Guide

Recommended Journals

  • Journal of Leadership Education

  •  Journal of Leadership Studies.

Search Tips

Choosing your search terms:

There are synonyms for what you are trying to write about or related subjects that you can use to base your research on. If there aren’t then your topic is very likely too new and too obscure for a term paper for a course so definitely ask your professor. Some databases such as PsycINFO include a thesaurus tool.

Choosing your parameters:

Your instructor probably gave you some specific instructions to follow such as articles must be published in peer-reviewed journals published in the past five years.


I usually tell students to start with PSYCINFO because it is a database specifically focused on psychology and related behavioral science fields. This means you don’t have to sort through as much random stuff if you are specifically looking for psychology related topics. On the other hand, depending on how interdisciplinary your topic is it might mean you miss out on some resources that would help your project.

Advanced search:

Topic in choose field Anywhere

Limit to: “peer-reviewed”

Searching specific journals: look up the journal and click the option that has the most entries OR pub.Exact(“Journal title” OR “Second journal title”) AND

You can also add line after line of ISSN’s

Truncation is with a * and there’s a more complicated way to truncate too.

Library Quick Search

In the library catalog advanced search you have a variety of options to choose from such as searching for your terms by title and you can limit to where you search as well such as searching only certain journals by inputting their ISSN. You can also limit your search to peer reviewed journals. The library catalog likes to give results so you might have results that are only kind of or barely relevant and you need to tweak your search  to make sure you actually have enough content.

Overall tips:

  • Don’t worry about Full Text, it might be in another database or worse case scenario a few hours to a few days away via interlibrary loan
  • Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT are your friends as is truncation, which is usually with a * but check the database you are using.

Finding Literature Reviews

What is a literature review?

Also known as: meta-analysis, systematic review, meta-synthesis, review of literature, overview, etc.

This scholarly article summarizes who is doing what in your research area, a “too long; didn’t read” of current research about a topic. Literature reviews are incorporated in scholarly articles, most researchers want to show why what they are doing is necessary and how it relates to what was done before, but for this tutorial we are focusing on the type that are published on their own.

In PsycINFO 

In PsycINFO Advance Search under Methodology check off the facets for Literature Review, Meta Analysis, metasynthesis, Systematic Review.

In Library Quick Search

Use either title or any field contains: “literature review” OR “review of literature” OR “systematic review” OR “meta analysis” OR “meta synthesis”


Any field Is exact or contains: “Your topic” OR “related words” OR “related words”

Check off the facet for peer reviewed journals.

In EBSCO databases, such as Business Source Elite:

Advanced Search and choose the Boolean search option

“literature review” OR “review of literature” OR “systematic review” OR “meta analysis” OR “meta synthesis” in Abstract

Topic in search in All text (Abstract also works and might be more accurate)

In Web of Science Core Collection

Web of Science Core Collection Advanced Search:

TS=(literature review OR review of literature OR systematic review OR meta analysis OR meta synthesis) AND TS=(Your topic)

The results are not super obvious and you have to click on the linked number of results in the Results column after running the search.

You can set up a search that sends you an email anytime it updates. Web of Science can save searches for you and works with Endnote.

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Social & Life Sciences Librarian

Anita Kay's picture
Anita Kay
150 Parks Library