Published on March 11, 2014
Background Research/Literature Review Joyce Maru – Capacity Development Officer Nicholas Ndiwa - Database Manager & Analyst RM Group Francis Wanyoike – Research Technician ILRI Graduate Fellows skills training Nairobi 16th September 2013
Session Objectives • Evaluate importance of literature review in the research process • Identify the components of a literature review process • Identify and evaluate different information sources for literature review • Be able to use different sources of information, apply various search techniques and organise retrieved information. • Be able to apply appropriate citation and referencing in their academic work • Analyse and critic a literature review on a journal paper
Research Process Project development implementation Communicating findings ? ? ?
Research Process • Problem definition • Literature review • Objective & hypothesis • Study design • Sampling • Data collection • Data management • Formal analysis • Reporting • Publication • Data archiving or publication Project development implementation Communicating findings Definition of problem domain & how the specific problem fits in Identification of gaps, appropriate methods & theory Research will approve or disapprove the hypothesis Research strategy to be used, sample size, sampling frame Sample selection Data collection tools Database development and data cleaning Exploration, description, m odelling & interpretation of statistical outputs Choice of reporting media & format Advise on presentation of results Data sharing media
Problem Identification Research is a problem solving undertaking Definition:. Is the identification of a phenomenon to be studied
Problem Identification Hierarchical and systematic Problem Existing gaps/emerging problems Hazard Levels Topic Priority consideration, setting the scope Scope Subject and Geographical Area Professional background and Institutional affiliation
Why Literature review? What are the aims and objectives of literature review? 10 minutes group discussion exercise
Aim of your literature search • To retrieve information of direct relevance to your research • To avoid being sidetracked or overloaded with material of only peripheral interest
Purpose of a literature review • To find out what other scholars are writing about your topic • To learn methods and approaches that are appropriate for your study • To learn appropriate theory to underpin your work • To highlight gaps and under-researched areas, to identify current debates and controversies • To help focus your research and sharpen and refine your research questions • To avoid reinventing the wheel, to demonstrate to your audience that your contribution is new – different from everyone else’s – Nobody will believe you unless you can demonstrate through the literature review that you know what everyone else has done • Demonstrate capability – Msc/PhD
Planning your literature search • You should consider at an early stage some search parameters, e.g. – How far back will you look for material? The last five/ten years? – Do you plan to read material about a particular geographical region only? – What type of material do you want to trace? Books, journals, theses, government reports, Internet resources? – What language?
Types of information sources • Secondary sources – Bibliographies, indexes and abstracts that you can use to help you to find the relevant papers/documents • Primary sources – Full text of articles, books, government reports, etc. that you need to read for your research project
Information sources: ILRI info-centre • ILRI information services - information specialists to manage journal subscriptions and provide reference and document delivery services. • Visit ‘Mahider', http://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/3 the repository of current research outputs; to check out multimedia resources published across the Internet • access ILRI journals and publications on this link: http://ilriannouncements.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/accessing-journals- scopus-and-other-info-resources-at-ilri/
Other sources for Literature Reviews • Internet – Use keyword searches in Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/ • Libraries, databases and subscriptions – Look through the list of journals and browse the books on the shelves to find relevant ones • Grey literature- theses, project reports, • Others- expert opinions?
DISCUSSION: Strengths and weaknesses of different sources • Books vs. journal articles vs. conference proceedings vs. the Internet • Which tend to be the best for – Currency? – Authority? – Understandability? • Academic papers are quality controlled – many are rejected as being incorrect or uninteresting
Evaluating sources • Is the source you are using respected in your field? • Has the author’s name been cited by others, or have you seen it listed in other bibliographic sources? • Are vital points referenced for you to check? • Are the references up to date with current development in your field?
Structure of literature review Research Topic Specialist sub-area Relevant primary research Your research question
Literature search model • Example: you may be researching the growth rate of Ndama cattle in tsetse infested areas so the bulk of the literature will be on the intersection of the three key areas Tsetse infested area Growth rate Ndama Cattle
Literature search model 50% 10% 10% 10% 5% 5% 5% Tsetse infested areas Growth rate Ndama cattle 5% Specialist area
Structuring/Organizing Literature Review
Structuring/organizing your literature review • Try to follow a concept-by-concept approach in presenting the literature review, not a study- by-study approach. • This means putting the emphasis on the results of the study, not the author.
Literature search techniques • Keyword search – To find topically relevant information from digital libraries, databases, or the Internet – Good in most cases • Chaining – Tracking references and citations to find articles relevant to a topic – Good where the topic is very small • Browsing – To sift through collections of potentially relevant text – Good where there are many relevant books/articles, but only a few can be selected
SEARCH TECHNIQUES: Selecting keywords • Organize your topic into subject groups or sets • Analyze the keywords in each subject group or set to try to find as many relevant search terms as possible • Use a thesaurus which lists synonyms and related words, to help you think of broader and narrower terms (and alternative spellings). • Some computer databases have an on-line subject thesaurus which you can use to find additional terms during your search
SEARCH TECHNIQUES: Boolean operators • “AND”- or can abbreviate as “& ”- retrieves records with all the separated words • “OR”- is a more broader option- either word • “NOT”- records retrieved do not contain the word that follow it • ()- parenthesis – when combining the Boolean searches – Shows the order of operation- as the ones inside the brackets will be done first – Left to Right (if not specified) • (Aflatoxicosis OR Aflatoxin) AND impact AND Kenya
Selecting keywords: an example • Set 1: mature students OR adult education OR adult learning OR continuing education OR non-traditional students OR lifelong learning AND • Set 2: academic performance OR academic achievement OR academic ability OR learner outcomes AND • Set 3: higher education OR colleges OR universities OR post-secondary education
SEARCH TECHNIQUES: Wildcard symbols (*, ?) • Truncation- expands a word- Trypano* • Use of an alternative spelling • Trypano* AND Kenya • Could be trypanosomiasis or trypanotolerance
Literature review - tips • Ideally, the bulk of your reading should come early in the investigation • In practice a number of activities are generally in progress at the same time and reading may spill over into the data-collecting stage of your study • You need to take care that reading does not take up more time than can be allowed, but it is rarely possible to obtain copies of all books and articles at exactly the time you need them, so there is inevitably some overlap • Reading about your topic may give you ideas about approaches and methods which had not occurred to you • It may also give you ideas about how you might classify and present your own data • It may help you to devise a theoretical or analytical framework
Literature review • As you read, get into the habit of examining – How authors classify their findings – How they explore relationships between facts – How facts and relationships are explained • Methods used by other researchers may be unsuitable for your purposes • But they may give you ideas about how you might categorize your own data, and ways in which you may be able to draw on the work of other researchers to support or refute your own arguments and conclusions
Critical review of literature • Only relevant works are mentioned • Review is more than a list of ‘what I have read’ • Uses of references – Justify and support your arguments – Allow you to make comparisons with other research – Express matters better than you could have done – Demonstrate your familiarity with your field of research
Critical review of literature • Abuses of references – Impress your readers with the scope of your reading – Litter your writing with names and quotations – Replace the need for you to express your own thoughts – Misrepresent other authors
Monitor your progress • The following should occur as you progress – Increase in knowledge of the subject – Increase in general knowledge of the specialist topic – Increase in your specialist vocabulary – Increase in confidence that you can complete the task
Handling of the retrieved information • Organized system- folders, subfolders- • Shared systems- DropBOX https://www.dropbox.com/ • Referencing- EndNote http://endnote.com/downloads/30-day-trial • Mendeley http://www.mendeley.com/features/ • Remember to back up your work
Citations and references • As you write up your research, you will use a citation to indicate in your text the source of a piece of information • A bibliography is a list of works that you have read or consulted during the course of your research but have not necessarily cited • References give details of books, articles and any other types of material that you have cited in your text
Referencing • Referencing is a standardized method of acknowledging sources of information and ideas that you have used in your assignment in a way that uniquely identifies their source • Direct quotations, facts and figures, as well as ideas and theories, from both published and unpublished works must be referenced • There are many acceptable forms of referencing (e.g. Harvard referencing style) (manual on Harvard referencing)
Acknowledgment 1. ILRI Info-centre 2. Florence Mutua - ILRI 3. Tom Vandenbosch – RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building) 4. Bridget McDermott - Reading University
The presentation has a Creative Commons licence. You are free to re-use or distribute this work, provided credit is given to ILRI. better lives through livestock ilri.org
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