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What Grad Students Need to Know about the Livingston Lord Library: Gathering, Managing & Organizing

Managing Your Research

A key task for researchers is organizing the materials you find. You should start thinking about how to organize your information while you're gathering it.

The Library supports three main strategies for organizing your research. 

  • Citation managers: These will help you keep track of your research. We suggest RefWorks.
  • Literature Reviews: The Library provides strategies for creating literature reviews so that you know you’ve done your due diligence in jump-starting your research. 
  • Data management tools: These will help you keep track of any data that you’ve collected as part of your research so it’s accessible and usable. 

IT Tools for Research

  • Dragon Naturally Speaking (PC) Dragon Naturally Speaking is a great speech recognition software. It turns your talk into text, creates transcriptions from audio files, commands your pc/mac, and much more.
  • Dragon Dictate (Mac) Dragon Dictate is a great speech recognition software that turns your speech into text, creates transcriptions from audio files, commands your Mac, and much more.
  • Minitab Minitab is Statistical software. Analyze your data and improve your products and services with the leading statistical software used for quality improvement worldwide.
  • Tools4School MSUM offers a number of technology tools that you can use while a student or employee. Whether it is utilizing the 24-hour computer labs on campus, educational discounts on hardware or taking advantage of the free software; make sure to check out your opportunities.

What is a Literature Review?

What is a Literature Review?

"A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment, ..., but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or thesis. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries."

--Written by Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre and available at http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/literature-review (Accessed August 8th, 2011)

Writing the Literature Review sites:

Writing the Literature Reciew: SUNY/Empire State College:

Literature Reviews: UNC - Chapel Hill

Write a Literature Review: UC-Santa Cruz 

What are the goals of creating a Literature Review?

  • To develop a new theory
  • To evaluate a theory or theories
  • To survey what’s known about a topic
  • Identify a problem in a field of research 
  • Provide a historical overview of the development of a topic

Type of Literature Reviews:

  • Mature and/or established topic: Topic is well-known and the purpose of this type of review is to analyze and synthesize this accumulated body of research.
  • Emerging Topic:The purpose of this type of review to identify understudy or new emerging research area.

Information here is adapted from ASU's Literature Reviews and Annotated Bibliographies.