Writing Literature Reviews: Chapter 3 Notes

Selecting a Topic and Identifying Literature for Review

Steps for selecting a topic:

  1. Look for a relevant database
  • Begin with a broad topic then narrow it down once you see how much research is on it.

2. Decrease the size of the reference list if necessary

  • Not everything has to be subcategorized

3. Increase the size of the reference list if necessary

  • When using the ERIC journal article record, the reference list can be increased by by clicking on “descriptors” for an article

4. Search for unpublished studies

  • (another way to increase the size of the reference list)

5. Create the first draft of the topic statement

  • Choose a more specific topic, then begin writing

6. Gain familiarity with online databases — especially Google Scholar

  • http//scholar.google.com

7. Identify the relevant databases in your field of study

  • Identify databases in your area of focus (psychology and health)

8. Gain familiarity with the organization of the database

  • Every search on a database contains a detailed description organized based on a set of information.

9. Begin with a general descriptor, then limit the output

10. Redefine the main topic more narrowly

11. Work backwards start with the most recent research

12. Look for theoretical articles on the topic

  • Include theory as a search when looking for theoretical articles

13. Search for “review” articles

  • While looking for review articles use the descriptor: “review”

14. Identify the landmark or the classic studies and theorists

  • Make sure to reference landmark studies