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Find the envelope with the excerpts in them and lay them on the table in front of you.Figure out a mini-conceptual schema based on that theme by grouping together those excerpts that say the same thing.Do this for each article and book that you have in your stack of literature. Step Four: Code the literature: Get out a pair of scissors and cut each excerpt out. Print this out, and cut the titles into individual slips of paper.
Set a specific time frame for how long you will search.
It should not take more than two or three dedicated sessions.
That balance will depend on how much you already know.
For people writing literature reviews for articles or books, this system also could work, especially when you are writing in a field with which you are already familiar.
Step Three: Find relevant excerpts in your books and articles: Skim the contents of each book and article and look specifically for these five things: 1.
Claims, conclusions, and findings about the constructs you are investigating 2. Calls for follow-up studies relevant to your project 4. Disagreement about the constructs you are investigating When you find any of these five things, type the relevant excerpt directly into a Word document. If there are excerpts that you can’t figure out where they belong, separate those and go over them again at the end to see if you need new categories.
Their system provides an excellent guide for getting through the massive amounts of literature for any purpose: in a dissertation, an M. thesis, or an article or book in any field of study.
Below is a summary of the steps they outline as well as a step-by-step method for writing a literature review.
The mere fact of having a system can make the literature review seem much less daunting, so I recommend this system for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the prospect of writing a literature review.
*Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California // Tanya Golash-Boza is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced, and author of the blog, Get a Life, Ph D.