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J.W. Dickhaut Library

DMin Research Guide

DMin Resources

Did you know that libraries that are American Theological Library Association (ATLA) members have a reciprocal borrowing program?  Because MTSO is an ATLA member, MTSO students can access theological libraries all over North America.  Students living outside of the Columbus area can get borrowing privileges at their nearest participating institution.  This means that you can check out physical resources as well as access the many remote resources available through the Dickhaut Library.  

A link to ATLA's website with a further explanation of the reciprocal borrowing program.

What is a literature review?

"Literature review" typically refers to work produced in the context of an article in an academic publication or as part of your doctoral project.

"A literature review is an evaluative report of information found in the literature related to your selected area of study. The review should describe, summarize, evaluate and clarify this literature. It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you (the author) determine the nature of your research."1

What are the purposes of a literature review?

  • situate your work in its discipline/area/subfield 
  • develop an understanding of how knowledge in your discipline/field/area has changed over time
  • develop mastery of what's known in your area, and part of the larger discipline that contains it
  • compare different conceptual or sub-disciplinary approaches to your topic
  • compare and contrast different theoretical schools or leading researchers in your area
  • identify methodologies that you might use in your work

Types of Literature Reviews

"Traditional Review: adopts a critical approach, which might assess theories or hypotheses by critically examining the methods and results of single primary studies, with an emphasis on background and contextual material.

Conceptual Review: synthesizes areas of conceptual knowledge that contribute to a better understanding of the issues. State of the art: brings readers up to date on the most recent research on the subject.  Could be a useful beginning to your research project.

Scoping Review: sets the scene for a future research agenda.  This review documents what is already known and then, using a critical analysis of gaps in knowledge, helps to refine the research questions, concepts and theories to point the way to future research." 1 

Systematic Review: "attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question [about health care or health policy]. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit methods aimed at minimizing bias, in order to produce more reliable findings that can be used to inform decision making."

1. Jesson, Jill, Lydia Matheson, and Fiona M. Lacey.  Doing Your Literature Review: Traditional and Systematic Techniques. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2011. Print.

Many students will find that using a citation tool will help them as they work through papers for individual courses and much more so as they work on their final project.  

The list below is by no means exhaustive, and new tools appear from time to time.

The main point is to find a tool that will work best with how you do your research and writing.  If you don't like a tool, you won't use it.  Your best bet may be to try some of the free tools first, and then if those don't appeal to you, perhaps you will invest in one of the other tools.  

Keep in mind you want a tool that will allow you to export citations in Turabian format (see Formatting tab).

  • BibMe (free)  - Web based tool for tracking citations.  May not be robust enough for larger bibliographies. 
  • End Note Web (free) - Web based tool for tracking citations.
  • Mendeley (free) - Web based tool for tracking citations.
  • Nota Bene - Web based tool for tracking citations as well as for writing.  Free trial version.
  • Ref Works - Web based tool for tracking citations. Free trial version.
  • Zotero (free) - Web based tool for tracking citations.  May not work with all browsers.
  • Evernote - More of a writing tool than a citation tool, but can be used in tandem with citation tools.  Basic version is free.
  • Memonic - Mainly a writing tool.  A limited free version is available.
  • Scrivener - Perhaps more of a writing tool than a mere citation tool, but it does do the latter.  Relatively inexpensive.

None of these tools are perfect!  After you import citations into your paper, you still need to check them for completeness and accuracy (no blaming the program!

Ministry Project and Dissertation Databases

Why Search for Ministry Projects and Dissertations?

Recently published dissertations and theses offer the most current research. If you find a dissertation with a similar topic, you can use the bibliography to inspire your own research. Reading dissertations gives you a good idea of what a dissertation should look like. 

Ministry Project and Dissertation Databases

Use the links below to access databases where you can find dissertations and theses. If a PDF is not available, it may be possible to get all or part of it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  Please note that databases outside of MTSO may require you to create an account to view information.