Step 1. Choose a topic. After defining your research question.
- Literature review should be guided by a central research question.
- It is not a collection of loosely related studies
─represents background and research developments related to a specific research question
─ should be interpreted and analyzed by you in a synthesized way
─Make sure your research question is not too broad or too narrow.
─Begin writing down terms that are related to your question.
─If you have the opportunity, discuss your topic with your professor.
Step 2. Decide on the scope of your review.
- How many studies do you need to look at?
- How comprehensive should it be?
- How many years should it cover?
- How many sources does the assignment require?
- Step 3. elect the databases you will use to conduct your searches.
- Make a list of the databases you will search.
- Remember to include comprehensive databases for journals and books
- Dissertations & Theses, if you need to.
Step 4. Conduct your searches and find the literature.
- Review the abstracts of research studies carefully. This will save you time.
- Write down the searches you conduct in each database
- Use the bibliographies and references of research studies you find to locate others.
- Ask your professor or a scholar in the field if you are missing any key works in the field.
- Use software to keep track of your research citations.
Step 5. Review the literature.
- Some questions to help you analyze the research:
- What was the research question of the study you are reviewing?
- What were the authors trying to discover?
- What were the research methodologies?
- What are the results, findings and the conclusions.
- Does the research seem to be complete?
- What further questions does it raise?
- If there are conflicting studies, why do you think that is?