Friday, June 17, 2011

Doing a literature review

Lots of you seem to be working on literature reviews at the moment so I thought I'd share some hints and tips. Firstly, if you are not sure what a literature review is, or how to go about doing one, have a look at some of the books in the library. This one by Helen Aveyard is very good and we have a previous edition as an ebook here. If you are doing a literature review you need to search comprehensively - don't forget to search the databases here. You can use search engines like Google (or preferably, Google Scholar) but databases offer much more sophisticated ways of searching so you are more likely to find what you need with the minimum hassle. CINAHL, for example, has a handy tick box to limit your results to primary research articles.

Finally, don't forget that most literature reviews require you to write up where you have searched, what you searched for (keywords) and also any limits you have applied (e.g. dates or language limits), so keep a record as you go. If you haven't got one already, it is worth signing up for an Ebsco account as you can save your search history to refer back to later.

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