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Writing a Literature Review: Phase 3: Recording Information

This guide provides an overview of the literature review and its place in a research project and contains resources for finding the information you need at APSU Library.

Recording the Information

We all have different ways of recording information etc.:

  • Cards with notes.
  • Photocopied articles with text highlighted with notes.
  • Laptops, PDAs, etc.

Citation Managers
Many researchers may find citation managers useful. These tools allow you to create collections of citations by easily importing references from online databases.

Many of these tools allow references to be stored and organized in folders. They will also format a Work Cited / Bibliography in many styles including APA and MLA.  A list of some of the most popular options is provided below.

Taking Notes, etc.

Some Tips on Recording the Information Found, on Taking Notes etc.:

  • It is sometimes sufficient to browse the text quickly. The introduction or conclusion often give a gist of the thesis and main points. Still, often a researcher must read much or all of a work, especially if it is of an authoritative or technical nature.
  • Begin with most recent studies and work backwards. A recent article’s list of references or bibliography might provide you with valuable works to consult.
  • If the report/article has an abstract, read it first.
  • Don’t trust your memory. Record all research. You'll never remember who said what if you neglect to take adequate notes!
  • Write down the complete citation for each work. Don't forget the page nos. for later use in the notes and bibliography. For Internet citations, note the URL.
  • Avoid "grandfather" citations. Return to original source.
  • Write all direct quotations precisely, word-for-word. Use quotation marks. Failure to put a direct text in quotes (or to credit the author) sets the stage for plagiarism.
  • Avoid copying too many direct quotations. Most of the review should be primarily in your own words with appropriate documentation of others’ ideas.
  • Do not stress just a single source or two. It is usually important in a literature review to provide evidence you consulted and used a wide range of resources.
  • For a contentious topic, present the opposing positions. Be objective. Do not overemphasize one side.

Subject Guide

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Michael Hooper
Library 323