Some experts say it is the most difficult and time-consuming process. In fact, literature review gives students more latitude to develop their own ideas. it is not just summarising what’s known, it is about trying to figure out what needs to be known to advance from what is already known. researchers have to critically evaluate the literature and look for gaps, unanswered questions and methodological weaknesses.
Below are strategies to keep you focused and productive as you tackle the first section of your research:
- Get organised – What kind of system is up to you. “There is no template,” says Joan Bolker, EdD, author of “Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis” (1998). “You have to look at who you are. You have to figure out what’s going to fit for you.” If you are tech savvy, make use of your knowledge and use your smart gadgets. If you are a pen and paper person, so be it. At the end of the day, it is about getting writing done!
- Stay focused – Sometimes students think they have to write about everything they’ve read. The literature review with too much background and not enough information about your specific research topic is a waste of time. Focus quickly on your specific area.
- Set a schedule – Writing is a creative process but you shouldn’t wait until inspiration strikes. Instead, set aside time to work on it. You will get busy with everything else but writing.
- Find your voice – Students often rely too heavily on the opinions of others. “Smith said this. Jones did this. Schwartz thinks this,” he says. Instead of citing an exhaustive list of articles, identify the argument you want to make and then select only the papers that are relevant — those that either support your argument or dispute your hypothesis.
Read more: Literature reviews made easy