To conduct a serious and comprehensive lit review takes a huge amount of time, and that is just to do the reading and take your notes; then you have to write up all that you have learned. Literature review writing is something that needs to be approached with great care if you want to ensure that you are going to do a good job of it. This is especially true if you are producing this as part of your degree proposal or actual thesis or dissertation. So it is vital that you carefully plan everything that you are going to do.
Decide on a topic It will help you considerably if your topic for your literature review is the one on which you intend to do your final M. However, you may pick any scholarly topic.
Identify the literature that you will review: Familiarize yourself with online databases see UMD library resource links below for help with thisidentifying relevant databases in your field of study.
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. Some tips for identifying suitable literature and narrowing your search: Start with a general descriptor from the database thesaurus or one that you know is already a well defined descriptor based on past work that you have done in this field.
You will need to experiment with different searches, such as limiting your search to descriptors that appear only in the document titles, or in both the document title and in the abstract. Redefine your topic if needed: Try to narrow it to a specific area of interest within the broad area that you have chosen remember: It is a good idea, as part of your literature search, to look for existing literature reviews that have already been written on this topic.
Import your references into your RefWorks account see: Refworks Import Directions for guide on how to do this from different databases.
You can also enter references manually into RefWorks if you need to. Analyze the literature Once you have identified and located the articles for your review, you need to analyze them and organize them before you begin writing: 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.
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.
Group the articles into categories e.
Once again, it's useful to enter this information into your RefWorks record. You can record the topics in the same box as before User 1 or use User 2 box for the topic s under which you have chosen to place this article. Decide on the format in which you will take notes as you read the articles as mentioned above, you can do this in RefWorks.
You can also do this using a Word Processor, or a concept mapping program like Inspiration free 30 trial downloada data base program e. Access or File Maker Proin an Excel spreadsheet, or the "old-fashioned" way of using note cards.
Be consistent in how you record notes. Note key statistics that you may want to use in the introduction to your review. Select useful quotes that you may want to include in your review. 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.
The rule I follow is to quote only when some key meaning would be lost in translation if I were to paraphrase the original author's words, or if using the original words adds special emphasis to a point that I am making.
Since different research studies focus on different aspects of the issue being studied, each article that you read will have different emphases, strengths. Your role as a reviewer is to evaluate what you read, so that your review is not a mere description of different articles, but rather a critical analysis that makes sense of the collection of articles that you are reviewing.
Critique the research methodologies used in the studies, and distinguish between assertions the author's opinion and actual research findings derived from empirical evidence.
Identify major trends or patterns: 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.
This step requires you to synthesize and make sense of what you read, since these patterns and trends may not be spelled out in the literature, but rather become apparent to you as you review the big picture that has emerged over time.1. Introduction.
Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work.
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