Steps to writing a good literature review

How to Write a Literature Review How to Write a Literature Review A well-written literature review should provide your readers a deep insight on the writings that helped you build your research.

Steps to writing a good literature review

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.

What is a review of the literature?

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.

Ask yourself questions like these:

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.

Your analysis can make generalizations across a majority of studies, but should also note inconsistencies across studies and over time.

Identify gaps in the literature, and reflect on why these might exist based on the understandings that you have gained by reading literature in this field of study. These gaps will be important for you to address as you plan and write your review. Identify relationships among studies: You may also note that studies fall into different categories categories that you see emerging or ones that are already discussed in the literature.

When you write your review, you should address these relationships and different categories and discuss relevant studies using this as a framework. Keep your review focused on your topic: 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.

steps to writing a good literature review

If you are using an electronic form of note taking, you might note these descriptors in a separate field e.LITERATURE REVIEWS MADE EASY. WHERE DO I BEGIN? WHAT IS A LITERATURE REVIEW? •Are first steps to a good lit review – •Writing Center •Library •Others •School of Public Affairs •Instructors •Advisors •Call on me –I can help provide direction!

Literature Review: Conducting & Writing Steps for Conducting a Lit Review Search Conducting a literature review is usually recursive, meaning that somewhere along the way, you'll find yourself repeating steps out-of-order.

That is actually a good sign. Writing a literature review is often the most daunting part of writing an article, book, thesis, or dissertation. “The literature” seems (and often is) massive.

steps to writing a good literature review

I have found it helpful to be as systematic as possible when completing this gargantuan task. Writing a literature review is often the most daunting part of writing an article, book, thesis, or dissertation. “The literature” seems (and often is) massive. I have found it helpful to be as systematic as possible when completing this gargantuan task.

Conducting a literature review is usually recursive, meaning that somewhere along the way, you'll find yourself repeating steps out-of-order. That is actually a good sign. Reviewing the research should lead to more research questions and those questions will likely lead you to either revise your initial research question or go back and find more literature related to a more specific aspect of your research question.

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