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Literature Reviews and Searching

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Updated July 2014

Text of Literature Reviews and Searching

2. What is a literature review? How to conduct a search for information Advice for managing the search and references Search tools and journals 3. Purpose of a literature review 1) Determine what has already been done in relation to your research problem; 2) Point out research strategies which are productive in investigating your topic In addition it can enable you to: a) Avoid reinventing the wheel; b) Identify seminal works; c) Define and measure key concepts; d) Increase breadth and depth of your knowledge; e) Position your project and identify relationships; f) Identify opposing views g) Show you can conduct the research Notar, C.E. & Cole, V. (2010) Literature Review Organizer. International Journal of Education. [Online] 2 (2), 1-17. Available from: [Accessed 17 February 2014]. 4. The literature review and the literature A literature review demonstrates to your reader that you are able to: Understand and critically analyse the background research (select, read, compare) Select and source the information that is necessary to develop a context for your research (evaluate, relevance) A longer literature review may have headings to help group the relevant research into themes or topics. This gives a focus to your analysis, as you can group similar studies together and compare and contrast their approaches, any weaknesses or strengths in their methods, and their findings (relate, synthesis, critical analysis/critique) University of Reading (2012) Starting a literature review. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 17 February 2014]. 5. Starting your literature search Library Search (powered by Summon) 6. Search strategy Define your topic Choose your keywords Identify where you will search Access and search resource Locate full text (book, article etc) Assess quality and relevance Adapt your search 7. The topic and keywords Defining your topic own knowledge, lecture notes and books Keywords crucial for searching in Summon and databases (and Google). 8. Where will you find sources of info? Sources: Books, eBooks Dictionaries, encyclopedias Newspapers Magazines Academic journals Conference papers Television Radio Speeches Debates Standards Legislation Policy, consultation documents (green/white papers) Theses, Dissertations Blogs Library (Hive) and Library Search Academic Search Complete, British Education Index; WRaP*; EPPI-Centre Teachersmedia; Box of Broadcasts; on demand; You Tube; TED Talks Hansard (; organisations and charities News websites;TES; Lexis Library; Education in England website; Childlink; Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA); Department for Education Dissertations and Theses; Level 4 (Hive) Try *WRaP: For websites see My iLibrary, Dawson Era 9. Journals Journals list on the LibGuides subject page Use Zetoc to set up email alerts for key titles: 1. Click the Zetoc link on your LibGuide 2. Click Zetoc Alert for emails 3. Find and select University of Worcester 4. Log in as normal 5. Enter your preferred email address for receiving the alerts, and give it a name (optional) 6. Alerts have an expiry date so you can come back to change or add alerts. 7. Click Add Journals to search for titles, or Add Searches to add authors or keywords. (You can switch between these on the next page.) 8. (Use Library Search to access the full articles just search by article title.) 10. Access and search the resources (motivation OR engagement) AND (parents OR carers) AND learning Library Search is available from your student portal page Academic Search Complete, British Education Index, My iLibrary, Dawson Era and other individual resources are available through Recommended websites and Google searches are at 11. Evaluate what you find Authority who wrote it Audience who for Accuracy use your knowledge Breadth and depth, references validity and reliability Bias why was it written, by who and who for Currency date (does it matter?) Comparison with other sources primary sources and further reading Purpose and relevance: Remember that you are writing up your academic research 12. Some advice Keep records: where you have searched, and the searches you have tried. Some tools provide a search history which you can save/email/print. Keep references: index cards or a Word document of all references youve consulted and read in Harvard format. Note creation: include your thoughts and reflections on what youve read, alongside typical notes of quotes, paraphrases and page numbers Summarise: your own short summaries of chapters and articles are easier to refer back to than whole documents in folders, especially when you want to find something quickly, compare sources and plan the essay structure. Start now if you havent already. 13. Useful References Chong Ho Shan, P. (2012) How to read journal articles in the social sciences: a very practical guide for students. London, SAGE. (300/SHO) Judge, B., Jones, P. & McCreery, E. (2009) Critical thinking skills for education students. Exeter, Learning Matters. (370.7/JUD, ebook available) Notar, C.E. & Cole, V. (2010) Literature Review Organizer. International Journal of Education. [Online] 2 (2), 1-17. Available from: [Accessed 17 February 2014]. Oliver, P. (2012) Succeeding with your literature review. Maidenhead, Open University Press. (ebook available) Richardson, L. & McBryde-Wilding, H. (2009) Information skills for education students. Exeter, Learning Matters. (025.524/RIC) Ridley, D. (2012) The literature review: a step-by-step guide for students. 2nd edition. London, SAGE. (001.4/RID) University of Reading (2012) Starting a literature review. [Online] Available from: startinglitreview.aspx [Accessed 17 February 2014]. Wyse, D. (2012) The good writing guide for education students. 3rd edition. London, SAGE. (808.042/WYS)

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