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Literature Review


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The intention of this resource is to provide you with enough information to produce a high quality reports and literature reviews.

You may need to produce several small reports during the course of your undergraduate study as part of group coursework assignments. This guide along with other provide support.

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Literature Review

  1. 1. Writing a literature review: how to find good quality information for your project Add your name here Add your Email address here © Loughborough University 2009. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License . <ul><li>Please note that this resource is accompanied by a text document and is part of five workshops on Key Skills for Engineering undergraduates. </li></ul><ul><li>The other workshops are: </li></ul><ul><li>Working in Groups – 90 - 120 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Technical Report Writing - 90 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Oral Presentations – 90 - 120 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing for Placement – 120 - 150 minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Please note there is also an introductory document providing general instructions on the workshops. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Aims of the session <ul><li>Participants will learn: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What a literature review is </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to search for good quality information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to obtain full-text articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to write up the literature review </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>Understanding a literature review </li></ul><ul><li>Finding the literature </li></ul><ul><li>Reading & Note taking </li></ul><ul><li>Organising material </li></ul><ul><li>Writing the literature review </li></ul><ul><li>Citing & Referencing </li></ul><ul><li>Checklist & Summary </li></ul>
  4. 4. A Literature Review <ul><li>A critique of published work </li></ul><ul><li>Shows work relevant to your project </li></ul><ul><li>Not just a list </li></ul><ul><li>Includes your comments </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates your ability to source material </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates your understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a background to your project </li></ul>
  5. 5. Preparing to search <ul><li>Plan your search strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ensure you understand the question / topic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identify keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consider limits e.g. date, language, document type </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Select resource(s) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>quick search on the Library catalogue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use databases to search for journal articles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objective: retrieve a manageable set of references </li></ul>
  6. 6. Topic <ul><li>‘ Health and safety issues on building sites, in particular relating to occupational falls’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. Explore your topic Health and safety, building sites, occupational falls Types of fall Types of site Regulations construction Health & Safety HSE highway Cause of fall from height slip and fall human error faulty equipment guidelines law occupational health accident prevention
  8. 8. Choosing your keywords <ul><li>Consider synonyms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. costs / prices / finance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consider alternative spellings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. organization / organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Note acronyms and abbreviations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. TQM / total quality management </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consider truncation / wildcard searching </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g contract* for contract, contracts, contracting etc. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Combining keywords <ul><li>AND narrower search / fewer results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. construction AND costs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>OR broader search / more results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. company OR firm </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Doing the search <ul><li>What sort of information is required? (journals, patents, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Identify possible resources (databases, indexes) </li></ul><ul><li>Enter and refine your search terms (search technique) </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping records – email, save, print, bibliographic software. </li></ul>
  11. 11. How to find journal articles <ul><li>Library catalogues only list titles of journals not what is inside them </li></ul><ul><li>To trace articles you will have to use databases </li></ul>
  12. 12. What is a database? <ul><li>In this context a database is a journal index </li></ul><ul><li>Most often in electronic format </li></ul><ul><li>Will indicate what journal material has been published on your topic </li></ul><ul><li>Contains references </li></ul>
  13. 13. Access to Electronic Information <ul><li>Your Library may have a portal or search engine which allows simultaneous cross-searching of a number of different databases using the same search interface </li></ul><ul><li>You may have to access each database individually. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use help screens or tutorials to learn how to get the best out of each interface </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Hands-on practice <ul><li>Your turn to try some searches </li></ul>
  15. 15. Evaluating results <ul><li>Geographic coverage </li></ul><ul><li>Standards, regulations, laws </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of work </li></ul><ul><li>Currency / accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul><ul><li>Access </li></ul>
  16. 16. Finding full-text <ul><li>Some databases or search engines provide links to full-text in PDF or HTML format </li></ul><ul><li>Where no link is present check availability on the Library catalogue </li></ul><ul><li>If no subscription is held consider using your inter-library loan service </li></ul>
  17. 17. Reading skills <ul><li>identifying the questions which need to be answered </li></ul><ul><li>actual reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>skimming - aims to find out if text is useful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>scanning - used when looking for specific information, enables you to find keyword or phrases in text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>receptive - slower, paying attention to detail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SQ3R - survey, question, read, recall, review </li></ul></ul><ul><li>prioritising what is found </li></ul><ul><li>recording pertinent information - note taking </li></ul>
  18. 18. Taking notes <ul><li>No right or wrong method </li></ul><ul><li>What works for you? Develop your own style and stick to it </li></ul><ul><li>Make a note of the bibliographic details </li></ul><ul><li>Summarise – don’t copy out long passages </li></ul><ul><li>Always use your own words </li></ul><ul><li>Use quotation marks to indicate direct quotes </li></ul>
  19. 19. Organising Your Material <ul><li>File material and notes in a logical way </li></ul><ul><li>Index Cards </li></ul><ul><li>Colour coding </li></ul><ul><li>Mind Maps/ Spider diagrams </li></ul><ul><li>Determine headings and sub headings </li></ul>
  20. 20. Writing Your Literature Review (i) <ul><li>Don’t stare at a blank screen - write something! </li></ul><ul><li>Develop headings and sub headings </li></ul><ul><li>A bit of writing is encouraging </li></ul><ul><li>An interesting story that flows </li></ul><ul><li>Determine departmental requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Use of third person </li></ul><ul><li>Active or Passive </li></ul>
  21. 21. Writing Your Literature Review (ii) <ul><li>Length </li></ul><ul><li>May be part of your introduction </li></ul><ul><li>May be a stand alone chapter </li></ul><ul><li>Spelling </li></ul><ul><li>Grammar </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Plagiarism </li></ul>
  22. 22. Citing <ul><li>The purpose of a reference or citation is to describe a published item accurately and with sufficient detail to enable a reader to identify it and find it again. </li></ul><ul><li>No absolute rules but styles and conventions </li></ul><ul><li>Main styles Harvard and Numeric </li></ul><ul><li>Important to be consistent </li></ul><ul><li>All information you didn’t know before you read it needs to be cited </li></ul>
  23. 23. Bibliographic software <ul><li>Software available for your desktop or via the web </li></ul><ul><li>Enables you to create and manage your own personal bibliographic database. </li></ul><ul><li>Either type the references in yourself, or import them from your database search results </li></ul><ul><li>Automatically formats references in a chosen style (e.g. Harvard) for use in a bibliography </li></ul>
  24. 24. Summary <ul><li>Must be professional </li></ul><ul><li>Allow time for proof reading </li></ul><ul><li>Check your referencing </li></ul><ul><li>Check for consistent layout </li></ul><ul><li>Material from leaders in the field </li></ul><ul><li>GOOD LUCK! </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>This resource was created by Glynis Perkin and Stephanie McKeating of Loughborough University and released as an open educational resource through the Open Engineering Resources project of the HE Academy Engineering Subject Centre. The Open Engineering Resources project was funded by HEFCE and part of the JISC/HE Academy UKOER programme. </li></ul><ul><li>© 2010 Loughborough University </li></ul><ul><li>This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License . </li></ul><ul><li>The name of Loughborough University, and the Loughborough University logo are the name and registered marks of Loughborough University. To the fullest extent permitted by law Loughborough University reserves all its rights in its name and marks which may not be used except with its written permission. </li></ul><ul><li>The JISC logo is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence.  All reproductions must comply with the terms of that licence. </li></ul><ul><li>The HEA logo is owned by the Higher Education Academy Limited may be freely distributed and copied for educational purposes only, provided that appropriate acknowledgement is given to the Higher Education Academy as the copyright holder and original publisher. </li></ul>