A literature review, especially for a Dissertation, will encompass a large number of resources. There are many locations to search, and dozens of articles and books to read and evaluate. Managing of all this research can be daunting. You will need to remember your various search strategies, compile your bibliography, and organize the concepts you find in your research.
There are a variety of tools you can use to help you keep track of what you find:
- Database Research Log
- Scholarly Research Log
RefWorks can help you collect, manage, and store all of the citation information for the resources you find. Once you have your citation information organized in RefWorks, it will also help you create a bibliography or reference list for your project.
To create a RefWorks account, go to the Capella Library Home page and click the RefWorks link.
Want to learn more about RefWorks? Click the tutorial on the right Basic RefWorks: Start Saving Time. The library also has a variety of RefWorks help available on the RefWorks page, including other guides, tutorials, and webinars.
Database Research Log
When researching for your literature review, you will need to do multiple searches in a variety of databases, catalogs and web tools. This results in different search strategies using many combinations of keywords. Keeping track of the searches you have already done will help you:
- Recreate a past search
- Make sure you have fully searched each database or tool
- Find inspiration for the search strategy in a new database
- Know where you left off in your last research session
For smaller projects you may want to simply jot down successful keyword combinations. For a larger project, such as a Dissertation, you will want to keep a more formal record of what you have done. The Database Research Log is a table you can fill in as you go along. Click here to download a copy of the Database Research Log [pdf].
Scholarly Research Log
One of the most daunting parts of the literature review is analyzing the dozens of resources you have found. You may spend months or more reading for your literature review, which can make it difficult to remember what each article or book was about. Recording and organizing the important information from each resource is central to writing a comprehensive literature review.
The library has created the Scholarly Research Log (Excel file) to help you with this process. It allows you to quickly record important information about each item you read:
- Basic citation information
- Research question, models or theories used
- Research methodology
Once completed, the Scholarly Research Log can be sorted or scanned to help you make important connections between resources.