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The Literature Review in 3 Key Steps The “What”, “Why” and “How” of The Academic Literature Review Adapted from Boston University Alumni Medical Library.

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Presentation on theme: "The Literature Review in 3 Key Steps The “What”, “Why” and “How” of The Academic Literature Review Adapted from Boston University Alumni Medical Library."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Literature Review in 3 Key Steps The “What”, “Why” and “How” of The Academic Literature Review Adapted from Boston University Alumni Medical Library

2 3 Steps to a Literature Review A review and quick summary of how to conduct a literature search for your EA Project

3 3 Key Steps: 1. Start your engines Think of it like doing a Google search for buying a car  What do you want to do? Buy a car, find a particular car, find out how to negotiate prices, etc.?  Key word searches are trial and error and need to be refined/narrowed 1.Go to your library’s digital search page and choose ACM, IEEE, & ERIC as your search engines – Then start your searches – Expect to get LOTS of results, and then refine and narrow down to get what you really want – Use the “find more articles like this one” feature if available

4 3 Key Steps: 2. Skim & Select 19 hits from the IEEE search on “interest in computing” + “high school” + “robots”  Skim all abstracts  Select articles of interest to your project  Read those articles  Take notes of important stuff: findings, methods, other prominent studies cited  Devise a system for note taking and managing your references TIP: Take note of studies that keep coming up in introductions- you want to read these Visit your library’s website for reference management software- freeware exists (Zotero), and many campuses offer licensed software like (Endnote)

5 3 Key Steps: 3. Sum it up What does it all mean? What categories are there? What is similar to your study? What is different? What is known collectively from this literature?  Perhaps: that robotics education is successful, or not, or it depends upon certain factors, or something else? Why is your study relevant? – The ‘So What?’ question Perhaps your study:  adds evidence to support robotics education in high schools  has never been done before  replicates other studies but with a different population  ETC…..

6 UNC Charlotte’s Library Resource Page


8 What is it? 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. provides a short description and critical evaluation of work critical to the topic. offers an overview of significant literature published on a topic. (Lyons, 2005)


10 Why? A literature review can be conducted for a variety of reasons: 1.For a review paper 2.For the introduction (and discussion) of a research paper, masters thesis or dissertation 3.To embark on a new area of research 4.For a research proposal (Burge, 2005) 5. And last, but not least, for contextual information for your EA Project!

11 Why? Conducting a literature review will help you: Determine if proposed research is actually needed.  Even if similar research published, researchers might suggest a need for similar studies or replication. Narrow down a problem.  It can be overwhelming getting into the literature of a field of study. A literature review can help you understand where you need to focus your efforts. Generate hypotheses or questions for further studies. (Mauch & Birch, 2003)

12 And for your EA Project: Conducting a literature review will give you : Background knowledge of the field of inquiry: – Facts – Eminent scholars – The most important ideas, theories, questions and hypotheses Knowledge of field-specific methodologies and their usefulness in particular settings (Mauch & Birch, 2003)


14 How? Outline of review process: 1.Formulate a problem – which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues; 2.Search the literature for materials relevant to the subject being explored. Searching the literature involves reading and refining the problem; 3.Evaluate the data – determine which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic; 4.Analyze and interpret – discuss the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature Use the literature to contextualize the problem/issue under study 5.Format and create bibliography (Lyons, 2005)

15 How? 1.Formulate a problem/issue: Create an overview of relevant literature regarding Computing Education Interventions 2.Search the literature: Use library resources/databases including IEEE, ACM and ERIC Don’t restrict your search to peer-reviewed journal articles. Include academic books too. Refine the problem/issue based on your initial review Networked computing to facilitate learning among elementary school students

16 How? 3.Evaluate the data. Determine which literature contributes to the understanding of the problem/issue. 4. Analyze and interpret. Read the article, book chapter, etc., and summarize findings and relevance Focus particularly on problem statement, method, results 5.Format and create bibliography Use a citation management program such as Endnote to organize and manage citations and create bibliography o Organize and store references o Make in-text citations based on required style (e.g., APA) o Create a list of references based on required style Most colleges and universities provide student access/download of citation management programs

17 Example Searches IEEE: “interest in computing” Refined by adding “ high school” Declare bingo and begin skimming the articles, or further refine at your discretion – Consider using outreach type, e.g. ‘robots,’ ‘gamemaker,’ ‘Alice,’ or ‘CS unplugged’ 38,000 hits 135 hits TIP: read an article that ‘jumps out’ at you, and use it’s key words to refine further TIP: use variations of words: ‘robots,’ ‘robotics,’ etc.

18 References Burge, C., 7.16 Experimental Molecular Biology: Biotechnology II, Spring (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCouseWare), Retrieved 12/15/2008, from License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA Lyons, K. (2005). UCSC library - how to write a literature review. Retrieved 1/22/2009, 2009, from Mauch, J. E., & Birch, J. W. (1993). Guide to the successful thesis and dissertation : A handbook for students and faculty (3rd, rev. and expand ed.). New York: Marcel Dekker.

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