Presentation on theme: "Researching & Writing a Literature Review"— Presentation transcript:
1 Researching & Writing a Literature Review NCSU Libraries
2 Expectations of graduate students Grad students have different backgroundsNot every grad student has done researchNot everyone has experience reading the literatureNo problem.You are learning to ask questionsDo so! No one expects you to know everything. Your job is to learn to seek out answersKnowing 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 communicationA published record of researchChallenging to read and digestIndexed, searchable with research databases
5 X X Talking about the literature… What it IS NOT: Common knowledge i.e., handily summarized in WikipediaEasy to findIf you just Googled it, you overlooked something.Available freely online (mostly)This distinction can be transparent on campus: the “free” internet vs. library subscriptionsX
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? Surveys scholarly sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theoryProvides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each workOffers an overview of significant literature published on a topicGives future research context by telling the story of work done so far(adapted from literaturereview.html)
9 Functions of Literature Reviews Establish research contextShow why the question is significantIllustrate and describe previous research, including gaps and flawsEnsure that research has not been done beforeHey, did you notice that the bullets here are checkboxes?
10 Functions of Literature Reviews Understand the structure of the problemDemonstrate your knowledge of the fieldSynthesize previous perspectives and develop your own perspectivePoint the way to future research
13 Digging Into the Literature = Major works= Studies that rely on major worksBCA
14 Digging Into the Literature = Major works= Something new!= Studies that rely on major worksBCANew!
15 Digging Into the Literature – How? AspectHow?Major worksLiterature databasesColleague recommendationsCited workRelated worksCitation searching:Web of ScienceGoogle ScholarNew informationArticles alerts/RSS feedsTables of ContentsPut it all together, you have a literature review!
16 Overview of the Process TopicResearch and Collect InformationRefWorksWriting and revisionWork with Articles and Brain
17 Overview of the Process TopicInitial topic won’t be your final topic!Choose, explore, focusRefine as you go based on:Availability of research – too much? too little?Discovering new ideasWriting progress
18 Overview of the Process TopicResearch and Collect InformationSearch databasesFind, evaluate, and select articles
19 Overview of the Process TopicResearch and Collect InformationSave your work in a citation mgr.Read, analyze, synthesizeDevelop your conceptual frameworkRefWorksWork with Articles and Brain
20 Overview of the Process TopicResearch and Collect InformationRefWorksRefine topic?Use your citation manager to stay organizedWork with Articles and Brain
21 Overview of the Process TopicResearch and Collect InformationRefWorksWriting and revisionWork with Articles and Brain
22 Proceeding…(use worksheet handout) Develop draft topicDiscuss with advisor, colleaguesFind a literature review (or book/chapter)Identify key terms and conceptsUse bibliography to find sourcesSearch the major disciplinary databaseCheck with colleagues, a librarianEach will have different ideas of where to search!Determine scope and facets of topicCollect useful, current sources
23 Search other key databases (another discipline?) Proceeding…Search other key databases (another discipline?)Round out understanding of scope, facets, terms, conceptsSearch a Citation databaseBest ones: Web of Science, Google ScholarWeb of Science has better toolsScholar can complete pictureIdentify key/seminal papers/researchIdentify key researchers, research centers, journalsTrace 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 informationArticle title, journal title, author, year/volume, pages, abstractKeep 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 relationshipsClassify or group papers, or paper sections, by topic, method, themeCompare and contrast papers addressing similar questionsDiscover relationships between sourcesDiscover critical gaps and disagreementsFit within the generated outline, or adapt outline
27 The Synthesis MatrixTool to aid in writing a document showing synthesisBased on a gridConcept 1Concept 2Concept 3Concept 4James, et al.xxxxxChungLevyxxxx
28 Models of Paper Structures “Stringing” Model:Organization of a SimpleSummary PaperIntroductionParagraph 1: Summary ordescription of article 1Paragraph 2: Summary ordescription of article 2Paragraph 3: Summary ordescription of article 3…and on…Summary and conclusions“Synthesis” Model:Paper showing Synthesis of Sources and Sequencing by ThemeIntroduction--Introduce context, topic, importance, research questions, overviewTheme A: Introduce concept or theme, discuss/compare the relevant parts of papers 1, 3, and 4Theme B: Introduce concept or theme, discuss/compare the relevant parts of papers 2,4, and 5Theme C: Introduce concept or theme, discuss/compare the relevant parts of papers 5 and 6Final paragraphs --Summarize and highlight conclusions, unresolved issues, identify possible next steps in research and/or practice.
29 Some Tips for WritingWrite as you go: don’t wait until you’ve finished searching the literatureSet 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 handyGet feedback, and don’t take it too personallyAim for a style that is clear, simple, and straightforward
30 Moving forward Other library workshops on: Doing Literature Searching How to identify good databasesMaximizing your use of themCitation managementHow to save all of this work
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