New resource: Guide to literature reviews for community organizations

Literature reviews summarize the existing conversation on a topic and may have many applications in a community organization or nonprofit setting. Literature reviews can:

A literature review can be done as a standalone project, or it can serve as an introduction for the original research you plan to do to add to the conversation in your field. Most of the available guidance on conducting literature reviews does not address how to do a literature review in a community context, or outside university settings where people have access to a wide array of subscription databases and journals.

With this in mind, we created an online guide to support people who are working on literature reviews in a community setting. It provides a step-by-step guide to doing a review, with questions at each stage to help researchers consider their goals and capacity. We included links to resources for searching, such as freely available databases. We encourage researchers to think about the additional resources they may be able to access (e.g., public libraries, local academic libraries that can be visited in person, library services or collections provided by professional organizations, etc.). The guide includes information on research strategies, evaluating sources, note-taking, and how to write a literature review, as well as a number of examples of reviews completed by community groups and nonprofits for various purposes.


Literature Review Process


This guide was developed with support from the Supporting Transparent and Open Research Engagement & Exchange (STOREE) project, which is funded through a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant.

We welcome questions and feedback – please contact

This story was prepared by Sam Snodgrass, Master of Library and Information Studies student at UBC, and Graduate Academic Assistant with the STOREE project, Heather DeForest, Librarian, Community Scholars Program, SFU Library, and Kristina McDavid, Librarian, Undergraduate Medical Education, UBC Library.