Conducting a literature searchPresentation Transcript
Conducting a Literature Review Monique Flaccavento OISE Library
Agenda Part I Concept of a literature review Developing a research plan
Agenda Part II The mechanics of searching
What is a literature review? “an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers” Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/literature-review
What is a literature review? “A review is a required part of grant and research proposals and often a chapter in theses and dissertations.” The Writing Centre, University of Wisconsin-Madison http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/ReviewofLiterature.html
What is a literature review? “[It] may be a self-contained unit -- an end in itself -- or a preface to and rationale for engaging in primary research.” The Writing Centre, University of Wisconsin-Madison http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/ReviewofLiterature.html
What is a literature review? “a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another” Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/literature-review
What is its purpose? “Generally, the purpose of a review is to analyze critically a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles.” The Writing Centre, University of Wisconsin-Madison http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/ReviewofLiterature.html
What is its purpose? The literature review helps a researcher identify gaps in a body of knowledge worthy of further research.
How does it differ from an essay? “the main focus of an academic research paper is to support your own argument”… The Writing Centre University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/literature_review.html
How does it differ from an essay? The literature review: “summarizes and evaluates existing knowledge on a particular topic. Its purpose is to produce a position on the state of that knowledge; this is the thesis” Machi, Lawrence A. & Brenda T. McEvoy. (2009). The Literature review: Six steps to success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, p. 2
The Research Process Identify your topic. Formulate a clear research question. Identify keyword and descriptors / subject headings. Make a list of the catalogues, databases, and websites you plan to search.
The Research Process 4. Search: library catalogue http://www.library.utoronto.ca/oise (for books, encyclopaedias, reports, journals, theses, etc.) article databases available through UTL (such as ERIC, PsycInfo, PAIS International)
The Research Process Theses (catalogue, T-Space, Dissertations and Theses: Full-Text, AMICUS (LAC)) CIDEC R&D Database (http://cide.oise.utoronto.ca/database.php) SourceOECD (http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/76256)
The Research Process Google Scholar Websites – Government, United Nations organizations, etc.
The Research Process 5. Refine, focus, or expand your topic as well as your keywords and descriptors. 6. Scan the literature and critically appraise sources to determine which are the most relevant to your research. 7. Revise / refine your topic.
Ask Questions Who is the author? Is he / she a respected and / or well-cited scholar in the field? Use a citation index such as Scopus, Web of Knowledge, or even Google Scholar to help you determine which articles are seminal works in your field.
Ask Questions Is the author of the website a reputable organization / individual? How current is the information? When was it last updated? Are the research methods employed sound? Is there bias in the article?
Ask Questions Has the article / study been published in a scholarly / academic / peer-reviewed journal? Has the book been published by a reputable publisher?
Tips Check your course outline for a list of well-respected journals Search Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory to determine if a journal is scholarly (“refereed”) Some databases allow you to limit your searches to peer-reviewed / scholarly articles
Try not to exclude articles which are contrary to your point of view.
Literature searches are often interdisciplinary, and should not be limited to current research on a topic.
Catalogue Searches Vandra Masemann (author) woman colour language education; policy (within results); Europe (geographical limit)
Catalogue Searches citizen* educat* Economics of Education vs. “Economics of Education” (journal) women thesis
Catalogue Searches Advanced search: ("teacher education" or "teacher training" or "preservice teachers") and (india or bangladesh or pakistan)
Article Finder “Comparative and International Education: A Journey toward Equality and Equity” Stromquist, Nelly P. Harvard Educational Review 2005, Vol. 75, Issue 1, pp. 89 --
Sample Topic: Student success initiatives in inner-city schools in Toronto and London, UK
Another excellent resource is: Machi, Lawrence A. & Brenda T. McEvoy. (2009). The Literature review: Six steps to success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. (call number 001.4 M149L).
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