So you have been asked to complete a literature review, but what is a literature review? A literature review is a piece of research which aims to address a specific research question. It is a comprehensive summary and analysis of existing literature. The literature itself should be the main topic of discussion in your review. You want the results and themes to speak for themselves to avoid any bias.
The first step is to decide on a topic, here are some elements to consider when deciding upon a topic;
Once you have decided on a topic, it is a good practice to carry out an initial scoping search.
This requires you to do a quick search using LibrarySearch or Google Scholar to ensure that there is research on your topic. This is a preliminary step to your search to check what literature is available before deciding on your question.
Once you have thought about your keywords and alternative keywords, it is time to think about how to combine them to form your search strategy. Boolean operators instruct the database how your terms should interact with one another.
Don't forget the more ORs you use the broader your search becomes, the more ANDs you use the narrower your search becomes.
One of the databases you will be using is EBSCOHost Research Databases. This is a platform which searches through multiple databases so allows for a comprehensive search. The short video below covers how to access and use EBSCO.
The research question framework elements can also be used as keywords.
Here are some ideas on what makes a good keyword:
It is important to remember that databases will only ever search for the exact term you put in, so don't panic if you are not getting the results you hoped for. Think about alternative words that could be used for each keyword to build upon your search.
Build your search by thinking about about synonyms, specialist language, spellings, acronyms, abbreviations for each keyword that you have.
EBSCOHost allows you to save your search and return to it at a later date. In order to save your search you will first need to create an EBSCO account.
A reference management software will save you a lot of time especially when you are looking at lots of different articles.
We provide support for EndNote and Mendeley. The video below covers how to install and use Mendeley.