How to Research for a Literature Review

This video will guide you through the
basics of creating literature review. A literature review is a critical
evaluation of published material on an issue, area of research, or theory. Each
source in your literature review is summarized, synthesized, and evaluated.
However, a literature review is more than a summary of sources. It highlights what
is and is not known about your topic, identifies any controversy surrounding
your topic, and formulates questions that need further research. Your literature
review should link these sources to how your research adds to the larger field
of study. Starting a literature review is the same as starting any research
project. First, you need to choose a topic. Once you have decided on your topic, you
should then search for background information. You must know the basics of
your topic before you can construct a thesis statement or research question. At
the MCNY library website you can find reference materials under the
header “Research Guides & Purpose Handbooks.” Scroll down, and click on
“Reference” sources to find suggested starting points for research. Once you
have your background information you next want to search for more specific
information. You can find books, e-books, and articles by searching the MCNY library website. Type an author, title, subject heading, or keyword into the
search box to generate a list of search results. This search acts like Google, but
because access of these items cost money, you will not be able to find them on
Google. Another way to search for articles is to click on “Databases by
subject” under the header “Databases.” This will take you to a list of databases
broken up by subject area. If you want more help on how to do this,
we have tutorials and videos available to show you more. To find this click on
the “Library tutorials” link on the main library website. The MCNY Research Guide on literature
reviews is also a good source to use. You can find it by clicking on
“Research guides,” and then scrolling until you find “Literature Review.” After you
have found your sources, read them, taking care to write down any patterns you see
in each source. This will help you organize your literature review when you
start to write it. Take notes so that you know what each sort says about your
topic so that you don’t have to read the article when you want to start writing
your literature review. Some questions you can ask yourself when you are
reading include: Is the article related to my topic? Is the article written by an
expert in that field? Does the author provide a balanced picture of the
question? Does the author consider both supporting and contrary data? You want to choose articles that discuss your topic, not just articles that support your idea.
Academic honesty requires that we engage it with all sides of a topic. If you find
holes in your research, research again to see if you have missed a source or if
this is a gap in the literature. If this gap in the literature affects your
thesis or research question, you will want to address it in your paper. Once
you have gathered and read your research, it’s now time to organize and write the
literature review. The MCNY Literature Review Research Guide lists several
common ways to organize your research. This organization depends on what trends
you discovered when you were reading your resources. For example, if your
sources are concerned with three separate theories, then you will want to
group your sources into these three theories. However, if your sources track a
change over time, you might want to organize your sources historically (by
year or decade, for example). That is why you need to keep track with notes while
you are reading through your sources. Finally, like any essay or research paper,
the literature review should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Again
the research guide breaks down what each part should look like. If you need help doing research for your literature review, you can ask one of the
librarians. If you need help with writing the research review, you can ask one of the
writing tutors in the Learning Enhancement Center. We are always here to help you. Need more help? You can reach out to us anytime using the following
methods. Thank you for watching.

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