How to do the review of literature
You can also do this using a Word Processor, or a concept mapping program like Inspiration free 30 trial download , a data base program e. Group the articles into categories e. Sort through current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects. You can take notes onto note cards or into a word processing document instead or as well as using RefWorks, but having your notes in RefWorks makes it easy to organize your notes later.
Here is the part where you have the most options. Help the reader along by letting them know what kind of ride they’re in for. Your thesis statement will not necessarily argue for a position or an opinion; rather, it will argue for a particular perspective on the material.
If it sets off alarm bells, there may be something wrong, and the paper is probably of a low quality. What types of publications am I using e. Evaluate your references for currency and coverage: Choose whichever way seems the most natural to you for your specific focus. Selected Links to Resources on Writing a Literature Review Step 1: This is why it is still good practice to begin research in an academic library. If their name keeps cropping up, and they have written many papers, the source is usually OK.
A good literature review needs a clear line of argument. In the latter cases in particular, the review will be guided by your research objective or by the issue or thesis you are arguing and will provide the framework for your further work.
If you copy the exact words from an article, be sure to cite the page number as you will need this should you decide to use the quote when you write your review as direct quotes must always be accompanied by page references. Use an overall introduction and conclusion to state the scope of your coverage and to formulate the question, problem, or concept your chosen material illuminates. Examples of literature reviews as a sub-section include: Access or File Maker Pro , in an Excel spreadsheet, or the “old-fashioned” way of using note cards.
How many sources should you include? Do you need to provide background information, such as definitions or histories, to aid in your audience’s understanding? Conducting a good literature review is a matter of experience, and even the best scientists have fallen into the trap of using poor evidence. Read between the lines. This can then be exported into a Microsoft Word document. What are the consequences of the patterns and holes in today’s sources?
How are they the same and how are they different? Any journals found there can be regarded as safe and credible. Critique the research methodologies used in the studies, and distinguish between assertions the author’s opinion and actual research findings derived from empirical evidence.
This organizational method fares well if each publication has a different stance. With dissertations, and particularly theses, it will be more down to you to decide.
As you take notes, record which specific aspects of the article you are reading are relevant to your topic as you read you will come up with key descriptors that you can record in your notes that will help you organize your findings when you come to write up your review. If you do include tables as part of your review each must be accompanied by an analysis that summarizes, interprets and synthesizes the literature that you have charted in the table.
But if the review is part of a smaller research report, you need to cover the major work that has been done on the topic recently, but it is not necessary to try to identify all research on the subject.
A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Does their work lead to a greater understanding of the subject? Define or identify the general topic, issue, or area of concern, thus providing an appropriate context for reviewing the literature. Be sure your evidence lines up with the support and your arrangement of sources flows logically.
You are not analyzing the material and coming up with your own, fresh perspective on it. As you read a range of articles on your topic, you should make note of trends and patterns over time as reported in the literature. Are You New to Research? If the literature review is part of a Ph. Jump back at it when you’re ready. Go back over your work and rephrase whatever was left ambiguous or wordy. Some instructors may ask you to do a literature review and not get more specific than that.
If yours is keen on this, determine your take in the introduction and string it throughout your paper. Is it clearly defined? Refworks Import Directions for guide on how to do this from different databases. In a research study, how good are the basic components of the study design e. Part 3 Revising Your Work 1 Review the guidelines. Familiarize yourself with online databases see UMD library resource links below for help with this , identifying relevant databases in your field of study.
Write a paper that can be read by the masses. Make sure yours not only meets content guidelines but meets formatting guidelines, too. Don’t make it overly esoteric. Skim the articles to get an idea of the general purpose and content of the article focus your reading here on the abstract, introduction and first few paragraphs, the conclusion of each article. Your review must be written in a formal, academic style. How accurate and valid are the measurements? Does your instructor require APA formatting?
Point out overall trends in what has been published about the topic; or conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, and conclusions; or gaps in research and scholarship; or a single problem or new perspective of immediate interest. This highly depends on your thesis statement and what sources you have chosen.
Be consistent in how you record notes. Research methods Summary of research results Step 6: Now that you’ve found your focus, it’s time to construct a thesis statement. What is a literature review? Are the conclusions validly based upon the data and analysis?
It is very important to note that your review should not be simply a description of what others have published in the form of a set of summaries, but should take the form of a critical discussion, showing insight and an awareness of differing arguments, theories and approaches. How does the author structure the argument? Take a break between writing and proofreading–your brain may be a bit saturated.
What if the assumed theories are wrong? Check the flow of your argument for coherence. A literature review assigned for class on its own, to understand and write up current research on a topic An analytical essay synthesizing an annotated bibliography into a formal paper A “review article” that you write to publish in a scholarly journal You may have already written a “research paper” that was really a literature review!
When you write your review, you should address these relationships and different categories and discuss relevant studies using this as a framework. Using relevant databases, search for literature sources using Google Scholar and also searching using Furl search all sources, including the Furl accounts of other Furl members. Always separate your source opinions from your own hypothesis. Once again, it’s useful to enter this information into your RefWorks record.
The next stage is to critically evaluate the paper and decide if the research is sufficient quality. The only real way to evaluate is through experience, but there are a few tricks for evaluating information quickly, yet accurately. Different fields of study and different professors will have different standards on whether a review is supposed to be more of a straightforward summary or if it is supposed to have a deep analysis and discussion.
Summarize the literature in table or concept map format Galvan recommends building tables as a key way to help you overview, organize, and summarize your findings, and suggests that including one or more of the tables that you create may be helpful in your literature review.
Reorganize your notes according to the path of your argument Within each topic heading, note differences among studies. Headers, footers, footnotes, and page numbers? Your voice should remain front and center. Writing the introduction In the introduction, you should: They have theses, but they’re quite different. Sometimes, the literary review is a part of a larger research paper. Am I looking at issues of theory?
Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective? Now all you need to do is go over it for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.