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How to Write a Literature Review?

Literature Review:

How to Write  a Literature Review?

Objectives of a literature review: 

1.Identify the knowledge frontier and what needs to be studied. 

2.Identify the context of research question.

3.Identify key words, variables linking to your research question, and their potential relationships.

4.Establish the relationships between theoretical frames on one part and empirical consideration on the other.

5.Having those goals in mind, and with the evolution of technology, we will present you some powerful tools. 

6.Some to collect the references, others to aggregate it, and finally to produce a good framework to present your references in an article.

How to find references:

1-           The easiest way is to use Google Scholar with keywords. But even for this tool, you need to have in mind some principles. 

2-           Indeed, if you don't clear on how to look for references, you will be drowned by references in a few minutes.

3-           Then, the first work is to translate your subject in few keywords. 

4-           And then use a two by two on Google Scholar. Otherwise, you will have two general references or two specialized ones.

Let's take an example:

1-           How educational training improve your wage and the labor market. 

Economists call it the rate of return of education. And we can wonder if each year of education as the same impact. 

Then how should I begin my research? 

First, let's go on Google's Scholar which is quite easy. 

There is no difficulty here.

·     Then we just put our keywords that we just talked about, and then let's begin with education and returns.

·     Then you can see all the references proposed by Google on several pages.Of return like in standard research in Google. And then the first article proposed. 

·     It's called Education Return Approach Consider of the Wage.

·     You can see the authors, Mwabu and Schultz, the journal where it was published, the American Economic Review, the year, 1996, 

·     and the dataset where it is stored which is JSTOR.

·     Just below, you can see the beginning of the abstract. And then the important information, the amount of time which is cited. When you click on it, you will see all the article who referred to the previous one which is quite useful because sometimes you need to go deep on some concepts of your visual graphs. 

·     Finally, you have several option on the left of the page.

·     Most important, you have the possibility to create an alert which will send you an email when new references appears with those specific key words.

·     You can select a specific here to focus on the other references, or on the contrary, unselect this one. And you can select a specific language 

·     which allow you to go on the specific research.

·     Be aware that keywords are not neutral. 

·     They frame the way one looks at one's question research. 

·     To get out of this biased way of thinking, it is useful to try and define new keywords until you deem your research complete concerning the ones you already defined. 

·     To identify new keywords, you can think of all concepts, disciplines, problem that can be linked to your first keywords.

·     Then during your references researchers, 

·     you discover journals publishing specifically on your fields of interest. 

·     Then do not forget to do some research on their website directory. 

·     You find the author, take a look to his website too.

·     Moreover, the text is also the handbooks, 

which aggregate articles of a specific concept. 

·     You can see it as meta-bibliography. 

·     More specific than the journal, but of course it will not be the exact same as yours.

·     There is also review papers, for instance chemical review, that can give you very important information under subjects you are interested in.

·     Finally, be careful not to get lost in the return of review. 

·     Often, first year PhD student gets lost in doing some bibliographical review of their field and don't even work on the subject. 

·     Be wise and manage your time.

·     Now that you have found articles, you want to store it. 


·     Then you can begin to read an article. 

·     But do not forget that you will not have the time to read again and again and again all your articles to find the specific information when it will be the time to write.

·      Let's say it's three years later for instance.

·     Then you need to take notes from your readings. 

·     The easiest way is to use a table to note at least the following information, the authors, the date, the full reference, the problematic, the used thesis, methodology, 

quote directly from the article, and your personal idea about this article. 

These are just advice fitting my own research field. 

·     In an area with more mathematical content, you might want to add a mathematical expression column for instance. 

·     You can think about other columns to fit your field.

·     This is it for the computer tools. Now you have to practice it. Hope you find it useful advice. 


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