Advice on doing my literature review

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by SurfDoctor, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I wanted to get some input on how I am preparing for the literature review for my doctorate degree. It's about a year and a half off, but I have already started. Here's my method, please give any critiques or suggestions that come to mind.

    1. I already have a vague dissertation topic in mind and, unless absolutely impossible, every paper I write for a class involves something to do with that topic.

    2. I thoroughly research each paper and then catalog all of the references and notes in Zotero. Each reference has all my notes for the article pasted on a "child-note" attached to the bibliographic information stored in Zotero. Every time I pull up a specific reference to an article, the notes I have taken from that article are attached.

    3. Each reference is indexed with tags that I can use to search and quickly find the article, my notes and the associated reference.

    I'm hoping that investing the extra effort to do this now will make my literature review much easier to research and write. In fact, I'm hoping to have a majority of my literature search complete when I start my literature review in earnest.

    Any thoughts or tips?
  2. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Which is why you will do awesome!
  3. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Hope you are right.
  4. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    I am reminded of why I have no interest in pursuing a doctorate.
  5. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I must be mentally ill, but I enjoy it.
  6. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    The time commitment involved with the dissertation is the thing that keeps turning me off to the idea.
  7. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    :haha: :iagree: :haha:
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe I can pile on a bit: remember that a literature review can potentially be tweeked into a good journal article.:thinkerg:
  9. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    I did a process similar to yours. I ended up with a few hundred references in Endnote with a bunch of notes. With that many, it made it had to back and look for individual articles, even with the tags.

    I recently stumbled across this awesome post on using Mind Maps to track your references and put together your lit review. If I used this method to write my dissertation, I probably would have been done a lot sooner!

    SciPlore Blog » Blog Archive » How to write a thesis (Bachelor, Master, or PhD) and which software tools to use
  10. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Fabulous! Thank you very much!
  11. distancedoc2007

    distancedoc2007 New Member

    A good tip I got was to locate those journal articles that offer a survey or critical overview of the state of the scholarship in the field. They are like miniature lit reviews in themselves, often offer a good intro to the historical currents of thought and are loaded with references. There's no magic bullet for finding them that I found, but you will know when you are looking at one - the title sometimes offers a clue. These are great finds and excellent shortcuts for organizing your ideas. Good luck!

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