Reviewing and organizing literature


Now that I’ve submitted my funding proposal to Mr. Assistant to be reviewed, I can concentrate more on seminar presentation due this Thursday. Somewhere along the way, I stopped working, not able to decide whether to work on the panic feeling of not yet writing anything at all for the presentation or on the desire to do good literature review for strong research argument, which my holy guidebook Gary Thomas’ “How to do your research project” highlighted as a major contributor to the development of your project. So, the last option won. Afterall, I suppose I could use its partial result for my presentation.

But literature review is overwhelming, very much indeed. I’ve been doing that for the last 6 months, or at least I thought I did. Yet, I couldn’t make a story out of it. I didn’t seem to know how to link one paper to another book, or if I did, I did it so awkwardly that I seemed to have either insulted my own logic or done plagiarism.  I can’t just search, print, read, review, and put those reading materials aside while taking mental notes to get back to them later, only to re-do all those process again for the same material I thought I haven’t read. I figured I need some sort of system here. And I’m extremely in need for a literature reviewing skills.

Uncle Google saved the day, providing answer to my poor organizing and literature reviewing skills. I’m writing this post because I want to share a good blog : protoscholar. If you’re a ‘lost’ doctoral student like I am, it would be extremely helpful, especially when you need some kind of organization guidance like I do. It may not provide the exact answer on how to, but it helps a lot in giving you the idea of the process and available tools.

I’ll share more on this topic. Now, I need to get back on my literature review. OneNote, EDraw and Zotero, here I come.


One response »

  1. Yeah, literature review is killing me. that’s my least favorite chapter of my thesis draft.
    But along the way I found out that a paper and a pen is my best friends when it comes down to literature review (or scientific writings in general). So, my tip in writing down the bones is, take a nearly full concentrate one hour to read the materials while taking notes here and there, then take another 30 minutes to compile the ideas into one flowing passage. After that then you can head to your word processor.

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