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Literature Review: Where to search

This guide will define a literature review, describe the process of writing a literature review and examine where to search for literature

Where to search

You will need to think about where you might find information about your topic. Subject specialist journal databases, library catalogues, video collections, specialist library collections, online resources and print material may need to be searched to unearth research papers in your chosen field. You can always discuss where and how to search for information with your librarian or archivist. Colleagues and supervisors may also provide useful suggestions.

The University of Queensland has produced a range of how-to-guides that outline techniques for finding specialist information. While the links provided are for access to the UQ library system and will not work for CSU students, the information may help you to consider resources other than journal articles and books. You can always discuss how CSU library can access specialist information by contacting your Faculty Librarians.

Journal databases

Citation databases enable you to find, check and track citation data of a paper. They enable you to easily navigate forward and backward through the literature related to a topic.


Academic Libraries have invested heavily in books published by reputable and scholarly publishers. These publications will often provide highly detailed and in depth coverage of the research topic which is not always possible in journal articles alone.

Books:  Search Charles Sturt University's Primo and Libraries Australia which searches most library catalogues throughout Australia. The National Library of Australia and all the State Libraries are deposit libraries, so you can be sure you are seeing everything that has been published in Australia, including theses, reports and conference papers.

Request an inter-library loan for items not held at Charles Sturt University. (Note: not available to offshore students.)

Electronic books: eBooks are available from Primo and ebook searches

Grey literature

Grey literature refers to scholarly works and research that have not been commercially published. Grey literature is generally not subject to peer review however, it can often be a good source of up to date information. Alternatively, it can provide a valuable historical link to how things were done in the past.

Examples of grey literature include:

  • conference proceedings
  • theses
  • government documents
  • fact sheets and bulletins
  • annual reports
  • business papers
  • informal communication (blogs, podcasts)
  • pamplets
  • reports
  • newspapers

To find grey literature you can search:

For more detailed information about Grey Literature, what it is and where to find it, take a look at the Grey Literature library resource guide



Tyndall, J. (2008) How low can you go? Towards a hierarchy of grey literature. Presented at Dreaming08: Australian Library and Information Association Biennial Conference, 2-5 September 2008, Alice Springs

Aloia, D., & Naughton, R. (2017). The GreyLit report: Understanding the challenges of finding grey literature. Grey Journal , 13(2), 75-80.

Aloia, D., & Naughton, R. (2016). Share #GreyLit: Using social media to communicate grey literature. Grey Journal, 12(2), 97-103.


Trove Digitised Newspapers, Maps and Manuscripts

In a single search, users can search across pictures, unpublished manuscripts, books, oral histories, music, videos, research papers, diaries, letters, maps, archived websites, and Australian newspapers from 1803 to 1954. Note that Australian newspaper content is available in full-text.

Government Publications

Australian Government Agencies are active online publishers. You can search for current publications on agencies websites or you can do an advanced google search and limit the domain to

Sites to search for government publications include:


  • Charles Sturt University Spatial Analysis Network 

    The Spatial Data Analysis Network (SPAN) is a research support unit within the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies, Charles Sturt University. SPAN's primary role is to support research by academic staff and higher degree (HDR) students of the university in the areas of:

    • Geographic Information Systems
    • Remote Sensing and Image Analysis
    • Spatial Statistics
    • Questionnaire Design and Survey Implementation
    • Simulation and Modelling
    • Provision of spatial and analytical software
    • Access to scientific instrumentation and other hardware
    • Data sourcing and supply

Australian statistics


Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.Acknowledgement of Country

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