Step by step how to write a literature review

Evaluate your references for currency and coverage: Access or File Maker Proin an Excel spreadsheet, or the "old-fashioned" way of using note cards. Within each topic heading, look for obvious gaps or areas needing more research.

If you are using an electronic form of note taking, you might note these descriptors in a separate field e. As you take notes, record which specific aspects of the article you are reading are relevant to your topic as you read you will come up with key descriptors that you can record in your notes that will help you organize your findings when you come to write up your review.

Redefine your topic if needed: Plan to describe relevant theories. Provide closure so that the path of the argument ends with a conclusion of some kind.

Identify major trends or patterns: Find the envelope with the excerpts in them and lay them on the table in front of you. Find books in the library that are relevant and check them out. Search for the literature: How you end the review, however, will depend on your reason for writing it.

Although you can always find more articles on your topic, you have to decide at what point you are finished with collecting new resources so that you can focus on writing up your findings.

Figure out a mini-conceptual schema based on that theme by grouping together those excerpts that say the same thing. You can also do this using a Word Processor, or a concept mapping program like Inspiration free 30 trial downloada data base program e. Skim the articles to get an idea of the general purpose and content of the article focus your reading here on the abstract, introduction and first few paragraphs, the conclusion of each article.

It must be short but comprehensive. Familiarize yourself with online databases see UMD library resource links below for help with thisidentifying relevant databases in your field of study.

How to Write a Literature Review

Plan to discuss how individual studies relate to and advance theory Plan to summarize periodically and, again near the end of the review Plan to present conclusions and implications Plan to suggest specific directions for future research near the end of the review Flesh out your outline with details from your analysis Step 7: This step requires you to synthesize and make sense of what you read, since these patterns and trends may not be spelled out in the literature, but rather become apparent to you as you review the big picture that has emerged over time.

Decide on the format in which you will take notes as you read the articles as mentioned above, you can do this in RefWorks. Refworks Import Directions for guide on how to do this from different databases. The advantage of using Excel is that it enables you to sort your findings according to a variety of factors e.

Research can help you collect a huge amount of data but you cannot add all of it to your review. Note key statistics that you may want to use in the introduction to your review.

Conduct a comprehensive bibliographic search of books and articles in your area.

Decide on a topic It will help you considerably if your topic for your literature review is the one on which you intend to do your final M. Since, pick the material you think is most suitable for you and skim through the rest.

If the review was written to stand alone, as is the case of a term paper or a review article for publication, the conclusion needs to make clear how the material in the body of the review has supported the assertion or proposition presented in the introduction.

When you write your review, you should address these relationships and different categories and discuss relevant studies using this as a framework. You may find the program Inspiration useful in mapping out your argument and once you have created this in a concept map form, Inspiration enables you to convert this to a text outline merely by clicking on the "outline" button.

You may also note that studies fall into different categories categories that you see emerging or ones that are already discussed in the literature.

These gaps will be important for you to address as you plan and write your review.

Guidelines for writing a literature review

When you are done, print out your excerpts.A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Write a Good Literature Review How to Write a Literature Review What is a literature review? A literature review is a piece of writing that demonstrates you have sound understanding and knowledge of your field of study or research in a particular field, topic or question.

A literature review must include an overview of the subject.

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Write a Good Literature Review

Subject is the most important thing so it should be given the most attention along with the objectives of literature review. Step Guide to Making Your Literature Review Write Itself By Elizabeth Hicks The literature review portion of research manuscripts can be the most intimidating part of the entire project.

Below is a summary of the steps they outline as well as a step-by-step method for writing a literature review. Step One: Decide on your areas of research: Before you begin to search for articles or books, decide beforehand what areas you are going to research.

Step by step how to write a literature review
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