Literature reviews are an essential part of the research process. They form the basis of your research questions and studies. If you’re planning a career in academia, lit reviews are part of your future!
Unfortunately, lit reviews can also be pretty daunting. Either there’s so much relevant research that you couldn’t possibly read it all or there’s hardly any empirical papers and you struggle to find relevant things. If you’re anything like me, a lit review can be a black hole that sucks away hours and hours of your valuable time. And let’s face it, as grad students, we don’t have that many hours to lose.
So here’s some tips and tricks for lit reviews to help you move through the literature quickly and efficiently so you can start designing your experiments and getting some results!
Tips for finding research:
⭐️Start by doing a general keyword search for your topic of interest to get your first round of articles. ⭐️Read through the references of relevant papers to see if you can find titles which might relate to your research questions ⭐️Pick articles that are most related to your topic and search for the first author to see if they have published anything additional on the topic ⭐️Do the same for the last author on the paper. Sometimes the first author is a graduate student making use of an existing dataset but never studying any other related topics in their career. The last author however, is likely a PI who might study your topic of interest more regularly. ⭐️Consult with experts for recommendations
Tips for saving time:
🌸Keep a digital tracker for any articles you read during research/school for quick referencing in lit reviews (I have one in my Free Notion Template – linked here) 🌸Skim articles first then decide if they are related enough for a thorough read through 🌸Use programs like Genei to quickly get the top takeaways and figures from the articles (Use code FRIENDSOFARCADIA2021 for a discount)
Now, with all that said, I have my own lit review to go complete. Time to put my money where my mouth is. Wishing you all luck in your research endeavors!
Until next time,