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Researching & Writing a Literature Review NCSU Libraries.

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Presentation on theme: "Researching & Writing a Literature Review NCSU Libraries."— Presentation transcript:

1 Researching & Writing a Literature Review NCSU Libraries

2 Expectations of graduate students Grad students have different backgrounds ◦ Not every grad student has done research ◦ Not everyone has experience reading the literature No problem. You are learning to ask questions Do so! No one expects you to know everything. Your job is to learn to seek out answers Knowing that information is out there can be empowering!

3 Talking about the literature… ◦ “What does the literature show us?” ◦ “Connect your ideas to the literature.” ◦ “Survey the literature on the topic.”

4 Talking about the literature… What it IS: ◦ Scholarly communication ◦ A published record of research ◦ Challenging to read and digest ◦ Indexed, searchable with research databases

5 Talking about the literature… What it IS NOT: ◦ Common knowledge  i.e., handily summarized in Wikipedia ◦ Easy to find  If you just Googled it, you overlooked something. ◦ Available freely online (mostly)  This distinction can be transparent on campus: the “free” internet vs. library subscriptions X X

6 Talking about the literature… ◦ Let’s focus on “What are lit reviews?” and “Why?” and the conceptual approach first… ◦ Follow-up workshops will tackle the “How?”  But we’ll look at a examples as we go

7 What is a Literature Review? A literature review Surveys scholarly sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory Provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work Offers an overview of significant literature published on a topic Gives future research context by telling the story of work done so far (adapted from literaturereview.html)http://library.ucsc.edu/ref/howto/ literaturereview.html

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9 Functions of Literature Reviews  Establish research context  Show why the question is significant  Illustrate and describe previous research, including gaps and flaws  Ensure that research has not been done before Hey, did you notice that the bullets here are checkboxes?

10 Functions of Literature Reviews  Understand the structure of the problem  Demonstrate your knowledge of the field  Synthesize previous perspectives and develop your own perspective  Point the way to future research

11 Review article examples: Review article examples:

12 Digging Into the Literature A = Major works C B

13 Digging Into the Literature A = Major works C B = Studies that rely on major works

14 Digging Into the Literature A = Major works C B = Studies that rely on major works New! = Something new!

15 Digging Into the Literature – How? AspectHow? Major works Literature databases Colleague recommendations Cited work Related worksCitation searching: Web of Science Google Scholar New information Articles alerts/RSS feeds Tables of Contents Put it all together, you have a literature review!

16 Writing and revision RefWorks Work with Articles and Brain Overview of the Process Research and Collect Information Topic

17 Overview of the Process Topic  Initial topic won’t be your final topic!  Choose, explore, focus  Refine as you go based on:  Availability of research – too much? too little?  Discovering new ideas  Writing progress

18 Overview of the Process Research and Collect Information Topic  Search databases  Find, evaluate, and select articles

19 RefWorks Work with Articles and Brain Overview of the Process Research and Collect Information Topic  Save your work in a citation mgr.  Read, analyze, synthesize  Develop your conceptual framework

20 RefWorks Work with Articles and Brain Overview of the Process Research and Collect Information Topic  Refine topic?  Use your citation manager to stay organized

21 Writing and revision RefWorks Work with Articles and Brain Overview of the Process Research and Collect Information Topic

22 Proceeding…(use worksheet handout) Develop draft topic  Discuss with advisor, colleagues Find a literature review (or book/chapter)  Identify key terms and concepts  Use bibliography to find sources Search the major disciplinary database  Check with colleagues, a librarian  Each will have different ideas of where to search!  Determine scope and facets of topic  Collect useful, current sources

23 Proceeding… Search other key databases (another discipline?)  Round out understanding of scope, facets, terms, concepts Search a Citation database  Best ones: Web of Science, Google Scholar  Web of Science has better tools  Scholar can complete picture  Identify key/seminal papers/research  Identify key researchers, research centers, journals  Trace citations back and forward

24 Questions that come up… ◦ How do I know I have the “right stuff”? ◦ How do I know when I’m done? ◦ How do know what’s important? ◦ No set answers…for each individual to decide.

25 Housekeeping Tips Use a citation management system ◦ Such as RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, etc. ◦ One word for these: invaluable. You are absolutely doing more work in NOT learning about these. Always get the complete citation information ◦ Article title, journal title, author, year/volume, pages, abstract Keep track of searches, notes, ideas, etc. (back to the worksheets) Fully citing sources = avoiding plagiarism

26 Read Synthetically: Pull it All Together Look at all articles to identify relationships Classify or group papers, or paper sections, by topic, method, theme Compare and contrast papers addressing similar questions ◦ Discover relationships between sources ◦ Discover critical gaps and disagreements Fit within the generated outline, or adapt outline

27 The Synthesis Matrix Tool to aid in writing a document showing synthesis Based on a grid Concept 1Concept 2Concept 3Concept 4 James, et al. xxxxx Chungxxxxx Levyxxxxxxxxx

28 Models of Paper Structures “Stringing” Model: Organization of a Simple Summary Paper Introduction  Paragraph 1: Summary or description of article 1  Paragraph 2: Summary or description of article 2  Paragraph 3: Summary or description of article 3 …and on… Summary and conclusions “Synthesis” Model: Paper showing Synthesis of Sources and Sequencing by Theme Introduction--Introduce context, topic, importance, research questions, overview  Theme A: Introduce concept or theme, discuss/compare the relevant parts of papers 1, 3, and 4  Theme B: Introduce concept or theme, discuss/compare the relevant parts of papers 2,4, and 5  Theme C: Introduce concept or theme, discuss/compare the relevant parts of papers 5 and 6 Final paragraphs --Summarize and highlight conclusions, unresolved issues, identify possible next steps in research and/or practice.

29 Some Tips for Writing Write as you go: don’t wait until you’ve finished searching the literature Set some times to write regularly, and do it! Start with the easier sections (probably not the introduction) Jot down notes and ideas and keep them handy Get feedback, and don’t take it too personally Aim for a style that is clear, simple, and straightforward

30 Moving forward Other library workshops on: Doing Literature Searching ◦ How to identify good databases ◦ Maximizing your use of them Citation management ◦ How to save all of this work


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