- Review “Literature Review: Organize the Materials” in this week’s Learning Resources.
Organize your researchWhy?Organization is essential as you work from start to finish of your capstone project. Good organization will allow you to see where you have been and help you to see how to proceed.Staying organized throughout your research will help you to avoid repeating ineffective searches. When it comes to writing your literature review, staying organized will provide you a concise overview of the research you have located, and help you group thoughts and ideas.As you write your literature review section you will need to explain to your readers how you conducted your research. This explanation does not need to be lengthy but you will need to share with your readers the databases and keywords that you used to find your research articles. This information can help future researchers pick up where your research left off.To get an idea of how you may approach this section you can look at the following award-winning dissertations. Look at the introduction of the
Review of the Professional Literature, or
Review of the Professional and Academic Literature sections:How?One method of organizing is to create an Excel spreadsheet to track your research, which will allow you to sort your information. The following is an example of how you may organize your research, including some specifics that you may want to keep track of.In this example the information being tracked is:
- Database – Which specific databases did you use in your research?
- NOTE: EBSCO and ProQuest are companies that provide access to many individual databases. Be sure to look for the specific database rather than listing the company name.
- Search Terms – What keywords did you use? Keeping track of this information can help you avoid using ineffective keywords and help you to build on previous searches.
- Results – How many results did you find with this search?
- Notes – Make note of anything that may help you later on. This could be a note regarding ineffective or effective keywords, future searches to try, prolific authors, etc.
offers a similar method in the form of a literature review matrix. You can see sample matrices and download templates on their page:There is no right or wrong way to organize. The best way is the way that makes sense to you.
- You may use any electronic citation management software you wish. Using your selected citation management tool, complete a record, including the citation and a brief annotation from at least one journal article. Record which electronic citation management software you are using at the top of the page.
- Submit a copy of your record.