Conducting a Literature Review: Why and How

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*Source WHY CONDUCT A LITERATURE REVIEW? Learn more at "The purpose of a literature review is to tell the story of what is known about the topic and identify the strengths and weaknesses of that knowledge, including gaps in our understanding." —Rachel Boba Santos, Radford University "A literature review situates the current study into the broader body of scholarship. It provides an understanding of related research that has been done, the populations research has focused on, and the context of prior studies. This highlights the contribution of the proposed study." —Rod Brunson, Rutgers University "A literature review lets the world know you have a clue on what you are talking about. It also provides the means to 'sell' the research proposed. It offers an opportunity to make the argument as to why the research I want to do is important." —Carlos Cuevas, Northeastern University HOW TO CONDUCT A LITERATURE REVIEW Develop Search Terms Write the fi rst draft Edit, proof, and polish (repeatedly) Search using terms, Boolean operators, and fi lters; iterative process Identify initial primary sources on the topic Summarize in paragraph form important information from each source; include citations Create a thematically focused table of summarized information Prepare for the fi rst draft by identifying an organizational approach and writing strategically Read abstracts (and possibly additional sections of the article) to narrow sources if needed

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