Writing Literature Reviews by Jose L. Galvin

I’ve recently finished reading Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences by Jose L. Galvin. Here are some items I want to remember from this book:

Galvin’s book has details about each step of the process of writing a literature review:

  • Select a topic and identify the literature for review. First search the databases to see what is there on your topic. I’m just starting to do this for videoconferencing. Refine keywords as necessary. Look for research articles and theory articles. Also look for “review” articles that review the literature. Also look for articles that seemed to make a leap forward in the research – the landmark or classic studies.
  • Then Galvin gives details for analyzing the literature and taking notes. Specifically use the same format for your notes. Notes should include:
    • Authors last names & initials.
    • Title of article.
    • Publication year.
    • Database source.
    • Name of journal, volume, number, page numbers, etc.
    • Main point of the article.
    • Qualitative or quantitative. Experimental or nonexperimental. If experimental, were the participants assigned randomly to treatments? If nonexperimental, was there an attempt to examine cause & effect? (p. 42-43 for more details). How were the major variables measured? What are the characteristics of the participants?How large specifically is the difference?
    • Methodology used (i.e. number of subjects, controls, treatments, etc.)
    • Findings.
    • Any explicit definitions of key terms (i.e. videoconferencing is used to mean satellite in some of the research)
    • If the article is related to any others
    • Other specific details that seem relevant.
    • Comments about the article. Questions, conclusions, thoughts etc.
    • I’m going to include a topic code too in my notes too: VCSharedClasses, VCContentProvider, VCProfessionalDevelopment, VCProjects, to start with.
  • Synthesizing the literature. Then you organize the notes into a topic outline that says something; that gives an argument.
  • The rest of the book has details for writing the first draft, making sure the essay is coherent, and a very detailed checklist on mechanics and style.

I have two other books to read about literature reviews and will share about those later.

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