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Literature review

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How to Conduct & Write a Literature Review. Also cover Literature Sources, hands on session, & useful Tools. What, Why, & How in formulating a Research Problem

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Literature review

  1. 1. Dilum Bandara Dilum.Bandara@uom.lk Some slides extracted from Dr. Hans Gray
  2. 2. Process of searching, understanding, & documenting related set of contents on a given topic • Includes academic papers, books, industry articles, news papers, Wikis, blogs, etc. 2 Source: www.criticalproof.com
  3. 3. 3 Cedalion standing on the shoulders of Orion from Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun by Nicolas Poussin, 1658, Oil on canvas Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants
  4. 4. “Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants” • Metaphor meaning “One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding the research & works created by notable thinkers of the past” “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” ― Isaac Newton “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” ― Edmund Burke 4
  5. 5. To find a solution to a problem Knowledge accumulates • We learn from & build on what others have done • Today’s studies build on those of yesterday! To make sure work you are trying to do hasn’t already been done 5
  6. 6.  Distinguish what has been done from what needs to be done  Discover important variables relevant to topic  Synthesize & gain a new perspective  Identify relationships between ideas & practice  Establish context of topic or problem  Rationalize significance of problem  Enhance & acquiring subject vocabulary  Identify methodologies & techniques that have been used  Place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments 6
  7. 7. Problem identification Analysis of problem in relation to existing literature • Depth of the problem • How my solution can be unique? During project work • Design parameters • Experiment/simulation setup While writing thesis 7
  8. 8. Peer reviewed journals Academic books Articles in encyclopedias, hand books Periodicals News papers, news letters, magazines Patents Documents, project reports Experts & consultants On-line sources of information • Wiki, Blogs, Forum, Twitter 8
  9. 9.  Google Scholar  Other research indexes & online databases  University libraries  Government document collections • National Archives  Government departments & institutions • NERD, NSF, ITI  Resources centers run by foreign missions • British Council, Russian Cultural Center, American Center, Practical Action 9
  10. 10. Suppose your are interested in “online payments using virtual currencies” 1. Go to Google Scholar & search for “virtual currency” • Note title, date, source, no of citations • Are results are all over the place? • Let’s be more specific in selecting search terms 2. Search for “virtual currency payments” • Better not miss fundamental papers 10
  11. 11. 3. Search for more recent papers • Papers within last 2-3 years • Select ones to read should be based on title, citations, then later by abstract • Look for recurrent terms/words • See the word “BitCoin”? 4. Search for “BitCoin” • Lot more related results 11
  12. 12. 5. Expand search • Looks at citations of a paper – these are related work • Look for related work from same authors, others, & supporting & opposing arguments 12
  13. 13.  Google Scholar has a “Save” link  Use a tool • Zotero  Browser-based research tool  Help you collect, organize, search, cite, & share your research sources • Mendeley & Qiqqa  Web & desktop based  Partly free • EndNote  Commercial  Most university libraries have access 13
  14. 14. After a while • You don’t remember where your ideas came from  You better not miss key/all citations • All your sources are mixed up Styles are complicated • Hundreds of styles of references • Conferences & journals have their own styles & reviewers are strict on style 14
  15. 15. 15 Source: https://thesislink.aut.ac.nz/?p=491
  16. 16.  As you read widely, but selectively in your topic area, consider what themes or issues connect your sources together  Do they present one or different solutions?  Is there an aspect that is missing?  How well do they present material & portray it according to an appropriate theory?  Do they reveal a trend in the field?  Is there a raging debate?  Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review 16
  17. 17. Document ideas in a suitable form • Use cases • Parameter space • Alternative designs • Gaps Examples • Just list them down • Note cards • Mind maps • Rich pictures 17
  18. 18. You got a focus, & narrowed it down to a problem statement What is the most effective way of presenting information? What are the most important topics, subtopics, etc.? What order should you present them? 18
  19. 19. Introduction or background • Basics • Central theme Body containing discussion of sources • Organized either chronologically, thematically, or methodologically Conclusion and/or recommendations • Where we need to go from here 19
  20. 20. Accepted facts in the area Popular opinion Main variables Relationship between concepts & variables Shortcomings in existing findings • Limitations in methods used in existing findings Relevance of your research Suggestions for further research 20
  21. 21.  One of the first researchers to investigate this problem is Chen . . .  Smith and Jones counter Chen’s argument . . .  The issue becomes more complex when a third school of thought is considered . . .  One researcher who agrees with Chen is . . .  A different approach to this question looks at problems in X  One of the most troublesome problems is addressed by Green . . .  A problem with this approach is that . . .  A recent study adds this to the mix . . .  A crucial issue that has not been addressed is z . . . 21
  22. 22. What are you planning to do? Why is it important? How are you planning to do it? Answer these 3 questions in a suitable order Write a single paragraph Refine it as you understand the research problem better 22
  23. 23. Get stuck while writing it? • It means you are still not clear about the research problem • If so, think, read, & analyze more, talk to others • Then give it another try 23
  24. 24.  Is a synthesis of available research  Is a critical evaluation  Has appropriate breadth & depth  Has clarity & conciseness  Uses rigorous & consistent methods  An annotated bibliography  Confined to description  Narrow & shallow  Confusing & longwinded  Constructed in an arbitrary way 24
  25. 25.  Vagueness due to too much or inappropriate generalizations  Very narrow focus  Insufficient information  Irrelevant material  Omission of contrasting view  Omission of recent work • Work carried out during last 2 years  Lack of a clear flow  Repetition  Use of big words 25
  26. 26. All the Best! 26

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