The only real way to evaluate is through experience, but there are luckily a few tricks for evaluating information quickly and accurately. There is such a thing as too much information.
Writing a Literature Review: Six Steps to Get You from Start to Finish
Google does not distinguish or judge the quality of results, only how search engine friendly a paper is. This is why it is still good practice to begin research in an academic library.
Any journals found there can be regarded as safe and credible. The next stage is to use the internet, and this is where the difficulties begin. It can be helpful to structure your internet research as if it were conducted on paper. The easiest way is to scan the work, using the abstract and introduction as guides. This helps to eliminate the non-relevant work and also some of the lower quality research. If it sets off alarm bells, there may be something wrong, and the paper is probably of a low quality.
Steps of the Literature Review Process
But be very careful not to fall into the trap of rejecting research just because it conflicts with your hypothesis. Failure to do this will completely invalidate the literature review and potentially undermine the research project. Any research that may be relevant should be moved to the shortlist folder. The next stage is to critically evaluate the paper and decide if the research is sufficient quality. Think about it this way: the temptation is to try to include as many sources as possible, and assume that a long bibliography equates to a good paper.
A smaller number of quality sources is far preferable than a long but irrelevant list.
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Check into the credentials of any source which you rely on heavily for the literature review. The reputation of the University or organization is a factor, as is the experience of the researcher. If their name keeps cropping up, and they have written many papers, the source is probably OK. Look for agreements. Good research should have been replicated by other independent researchers, with similar results, showing that the information is fairly safe to use.
If the process is proving to be difficult and in some fields like medicine and environmental research, there is a lot of poor science do not be afraid to ask a supervisor for advice. They should know some trustworthy sources to look at. It may be a little extra work for them, but there will be even more work if they have to tear apart a review because it is built on shaky evidence.
Conducting a good literature review takes patience and is a matter of practice. Take solace that even the best scientists can fall into the trap of using poor evidence. If your research program is well constructed, a less-than-perfect literature review will not affect the results. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Martyn Shuttleworth Sep 16, What is a Literature Review?. Retrieved Oct 13, from Explorable. The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.
That is it.
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- Strategy: Literature Reviews.
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How to write a literature review
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What is a Literature Review?
Don't have time for it all now? No problem, save it as a course and come back to it later. Reference sources such as dictionaries can assist in defining terminology, and encyclopaedias may provide useful introductions to your topic by experts in the field and will list key references. See the chapter below for a helpful overview of the literature review process, especially the sections on how to analyse the literature you have gathered and how to write up your literature review:. Literature Reviews and Bibliographic Searches. Potter Eds. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider what themes or issues connect your sources together.
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Monmouth University Library. How to write a Literature Review: Literature review process A guide to writing a literature review. Home Literature review process Purpose of a literature review Evaluating sources Managing sources Sage Research Methods Toggle Dropdown Selecting the approach to use Quantitative vs qualitative method Summary of different research methodologies Research design vs research methodology Diagram: importance of research Attributes of a good research scholar Request a literature search.
Step 1: Select a topic Select a topic you can manage in the time frame you have to complete your project. Your research questions must be specific enou gh to guide you to the relevant literature.
The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to get a good survey of the literature. Step 2: Identify the most relevant sources on your topic Use a variety of resources - locate books , journals , and documents that contain useful information and ideas on your topic. These are scholarly journals which go through a rigorous process of quality assessment by several researchers or subject specialists in the academic community before they are accepted for publication.