Response to John
Hello John, I agree with the highlighted purpose of a literature review for a researcher. When one settles on a topic for research, they must demonstrate to the recipient of the findings that they have a good understanding of what they are working on. Questions such as what the literature show or what other researchers have established on your topic are bound to be raised. To answer these adequately, one must conduct a background check on the topic to identify the extent of knowledge existing on the topic and show the gaps that exist and need to be filled (Libncsu, 2009). A novice researcher should be more interested in filling an existing gap in research to contribute to their area of research.
On finding published materials for use in research, one should begin with identifying the keywords associated with their topic of choice. These are used to query search engines for related materials for use in constructing a background to their work. You have correctly identified that library databases are the most important when looking for scholarly resources. These often contain peer-reviewed and up-to-date materials that contain a hoard of information on any particular area. The knowledge of effectively utilizing these databases is also critical for the researcher. For instance, having the right search strategy will increase the chances of getting better search results. Effective search strategies include phrase search, truncation and the use of and & or provisions for the database to refine the search even further (Shaheem & Ormsby, 2017). The information obtained should only be used as the building block for the research to demonstrate that one understands what they are researching.
Libncsu. (2009). Literature Reviews: An Overview For Graduate Students [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2d7y_r65HU&nohtml5=False
Shaheem, Y., & Ormsby, T. (2017). Top Tips For Finding High Quality Top Tips For Finding High Quality. Flinder Library: https://flinders.libguides.com/ld.php?content_id=30289254
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Both videos were incredibly helpful in providing a general understanding of what a literature review is and how that relates to research. David Taylor does an excellent job of taking what could have been an exhaustive topic and breaking down the basics of writing literature review in a concise manner (Taylor, 2010). Both videos allowed me to come away with a much better understanding of what is required of me in this process and also what to avoid. In step with Taylors suggestions as it pertains to novice researchers, a literature review has three key purposes:
- Improve your understanding
- Demonstrate your acquired knowledge
- Update the reader
Each of these purposes are equally important, but Taylor paid special attention on updating the reader. This purpose carries special importance because it is an opportunity to show the interested reader what that have been missing out on or need updating on in recent history (Taylor, 2010). This is the opportunity for the researcher/ author to intimately connect with their audience with their research.
As the video posted by North Carolina State suggests, a literature review is acquiring and evaluating as much information as you can on a topic (LibNCSU, 2019). Acquiring useful published work is the first key step in an adequate literature review. Article databases, library catalogues, and Google Scholar are excellent starting points. In my own experience, the Cornell University Library (http://guides.library.cornell.edu/sevensteps/articles) as well as the UC Berkeley Online Library (https://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/finding-databases-and-articles) are excellent resources in finding relevant published work, regardless of the topic. Do not forget to check our own CCU Library as well (https://libguides.ccu.edu/home). Books and other publications are relevant sources as well you can build upon (LibNCSU, 2019). As the video also states, often published work will be related or linked with other published work and can create opportunities to discover more information on your topic. Equally important is not simply regurgitating the information you find, but rather building upon that information and demonstrate understanding of the information and form new comprehensive thoughts and ideas (LibNCSU, 2019).
Taylor, David. [David Taylor]. (June 28, 2010). Writing the literature review (part one): step-by-step sutorial for graduate students [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IUZWZX4OGI
LibNCSU [AskUs]. (July 30, 2019). Literature review: an overview for graduate students. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2d7y_r65HU
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