Subject Bibliographies: Curated Reading Lists

Oxford Bibliographies Online

OBOs combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia  in order to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad social, political, cultural or interdisciplinary  topic. They're regularly updated to remain current.

Often the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance. OBO entries can help you solve the problem of knowing what or who to read or which voices in the conversation you should give some fuller attention to.

Literature Reviews: the Standalone Variety

Annual Reviews

Since 1932,the Annual Reviews series has offered authoritative syntheses of the primary research literature in 46 academic fields, including political sciencesociologyanthropology, and public health.

A search of Annual Reviews can therefore help you easily identify—and contextualize—the principal contributions that have been made in your field.  The comprehensive critical review not only summarizes a topic but also roots out errors of fact or concept and provokes discussion that will lead to new research activity. 

The advanced search screen  offers excellent search tips, including ways select certain AR titles or limit to particular disciplines and narrow by date.

Sociology Compass 

An online-only journal publishing original, peer-reviewed surveys of current research from across the entire discipline. Its  state-of-the-art reviews, supported by a comprehensive bibliography 

Sociology Compass can be browsed by major sections, which include: 

Child & Family | Communication & Media | Culture | Crime & Deviance | Gender & Sexuality | Organisations, Work & Economics | Political Sociology | Race & Ethnicity | Science, Technology & Health | Social Movements | Social Stratification

Literature Reviews: The Embedded Variety

A literature review, even when it's not specifically called out as such, may be hiding in plain sight.  Examples:

  • The introductory chapter of a monograph (single-authored book) or essay collection will often review scholarship that has come before and influenced the present discussion in some way. 
  • recent dissertation can be a gold mine for an extended literature review. Try our ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global database.
  • Social science articles typically include a section that's caled "review of the literature." While selective and focused in a different way than a stand-alone review, these mini-reviews can tell you something about a trend or emerging emphasis in research. 
  • A handbook or companion on your topic (or the nearest equivalent to your topic).Oxford Handbooks Online and Cambridge Companions are two famous and well-respected examples of this genre, but there are other good publishing houses  producing handbooks, too.

Sometimes, just adding the keyword handbook (or companion) to a HOLLIS search will surface one or more titles you can examine.