What is a literature review?
A literature review is an evaluation of current research papers on the topic area of a new study, with the goal of discussing their theory, research designs, data collection methods, findings, strengths, limitations, and settings as they relate to the new study
A literature review is carried out at the start of your research and is produced as a separate document or as part of a larger piece of work (e.g., as a chapter in a thesis).
The purpose of a literature review is to:
A good literature review is:
Find examples of literature reviews
You can find examples of literature reviews in journals, and in theses (usually found in the second chapter).
Most databases allow you to limit searches to 'review articles'. Review articles are a great place to start your literature review.
Locate a Final Year Project from your School and check out the literature review chapter.
How to write a literature review
How to search effectively
1. Identify search words
Analyse your research topic or question
2. Connect your search words
You can use Boolean operators to help narrow down your search:
3. Improve your search results
Every library database is unique, and you cannot always search and refine it in the same way. When transferring your search to the library databases you've chosen, try to be consistent.
Narrow and refine your search results by:
When searching, remember to:
Adapt your search and keep trying
Searching for information is a process and you won't always get it right the first time. Improve your results by altering your search and trying again until you're satisfied with what you've discovered.
Keep track of your searches
Keeping track of searches allows you to rerun them, preserve references, and set up frequent notifications for fresh research related to your issue, which saves time.
Most library databases allow you to create a personal account to register. To get started, look for a 'log in, 'sign in,' or 'register' option.
Manage your references
There are free subscription reference management programs available on the web or to download on your computer.
Where to search when doing a literature review
When performing a literature review, try to be as thorough as possible. It is critical to understand where to go for information.
Follow the steps to discover the finest databases for searching for information on your study subject.
Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:
Finding grey literature
What is grey (gray) literature?
Grey literature is research that is published outside of commercial or academic journals. Grey literature may not appear to be a typical book or article. It might be in the form of a PDF or a report, for example, but the content should still be of excellent quality.
Examples of grey literature include:
Who makes grey literature?
Why use grey literature?
In several areas, grey literature is an important source of current research.
Grey literature is frequently produced by industry and government agencies and is made available online more quickly than other sorts of publications.
It's essential to go through grey literature, such as theses and dissertations, to see what other people are doing on your subject.
Evaluating grey literature
Because grey literature does not go through the same peer-review process as commercial publications, it is critical to double-check it.
To assure the quality of information acquired from grey literature, cross-check it with information derived from other sources.
Use the same skills you would use to evaluate any other material:
Tips for using grey literature
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