Monday, 15 September 2014

Where to start with the literature review?

I have written and re-written a couple of literature reviews and now that I am embarking on my PhD journey, I know it is an area that I need to further develop.

My first port of call I recommend is your university's faculty librarian. They are a wealth of knowledge. I already know my librarian from my Master's degree- she taught me how to use Endnote! I have improved my search technique and I have set up alerts for my search 'strings'- a list of key words related to my topic. I have also saved the search strings to use again later in my research.

I will develop a mind map or as my Librarian calls it- semantic mapping.  A map of key words that shows my main themes, related and similar key words and how they are connected. This provides a base for sorting and structuring the literature. When I finish my map I will be happy to share on Twitter - look up @studybreak.

For alternate terms and further literature, I will take a look at other articles that have cited the work that is relevant to my topic. This will add to my semantic map and provide further search strings to work with.

Another approach I will take is to look through theses online. Your University will have a repository of their theses and publications or you can have a look at TROVE that was formally known as the Australasian Digital Theses. This is a great way to see how literature reviews can be structured and how how they differ between the types of theses and methodology. I will be looking for theses that have a literature review that I believe is structured in a way that I believe suits my style of writing and chosen methodology.

Do you have any literature review tips to share?

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