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The Literature Review in 3 Key Steps

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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 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

7 And now the background……. What is a literature review?

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)

9 why CONDUCT a literature review?

10 Why? A literature review can be conducted for a variety of reasons:
For a review paper For the introduction (and discussion) of a research paper, masters thesis or dissertation To embark on a new area of research 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:
Formulate a problem – which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues; Search the literature for materials relevant to the subject being explored. Searching the literature involves reading and refining the problem; Evaluate the data – determine which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic; Analyze and interpret – discuss the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature Use the literature to contextualize the problem/issue under study Format and create bibliography (Lyons, 2005)

15 How? Formulate a problem/issue: Search the literature:
Create an overview of relevant literature regarding Computing Education Interventions 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? Evaluate the data. Determine which literature contributes to the understanding of the problem/issue. Analyze and interpret. Read the article, book chapter, etc., and summarize findings and relevance Focus particularly on problem statement, method, results Format and create bibliography Use a citation management program such as Endnote to organize and manage citations and create bibliography Organize and store references Make in-text citations based on required style (e.g., APA) 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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