Writing a literature review is daunting (hey, writing a dissertation is daunting!)
While dissertation formats vary between universities and disciplines, most (if not all) require a literature review.
In this post I'll walk you through my process in developing an organization system that helped me write my dissertation literature review. It's a long post, but I wanted it all to be in one place for you so it's not broken up into different articles.
First, I'll walk you through my back story in the dissertation literature review process, and describe my overall system of organization.
Then, I'll describe 2 methods to take you from reading articles to taking notes to organizing your notes into themes.
Lastly, I'll wrap up with thoughts on how to continue your literature review in a cohesive and transparent way.
All external links open in a new window.
What an eye-opening statement from Angel Borja, established scientist, and experienced reviewer and editor.
In this post, we'll summarize some key writing tips aimed at strengthening your argument. We'll also think about what peer reviewers and editors are looking for in a submitted manuscript.
All of these tips build strongly upon what we've discussed in the #EpiWritingChallenge so far - keeping it simple, writing clearly, getting to the point, etc.
With that being said, I'll get to the point.
Take the guesswork out of your head and speak aloud, and typing as you speak.
If this feels silly, or if you’re feeling overly influenced by seeing your text on the screen, then cover the screen and type blindly.
On Day 3 of the challenge (Read Before You Write), we talked about reading before you write. Many of the #EpiWritingChallenge participants were excited that reading counts as writing and they shared tips on how you stay on top of your reading piles.
Dr. Bill Miller pointed out the flip-side of challenging reads: it's not that the content is necessarily complicated, but that it is likely poorly written.
Is that how you feel, too? Or do you start with an outline every time you write?
No matter which camp you're in - or even if you're straddling both sides - let's go through the basics of using an outline to plan your writing so you can make an educated decision.
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