Tips and Tricks for Literature Searches

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Literature Reviews: Reviewing and Critiquing Research

You have probably seen television programs or movies set in a court of law. Or, perhaps you have served on a jury or have been a plaintiff or defendant yourself. In the legal setting, conclusions are only said to be reached when the rules and constructs related to evidence are followed. Critical thinking and evidentiary rules protect the parties of a case; even if a conclusion seems foregone, it cannot be reached legitimately without a certain degree of evidence and conclusiveness.

Research follows similar practices. Whether a research study is qualitative, quantitative, or uses mixed methodology, it is incumbent upon the critical thinker to assess the assumptions, procedures, and conclusions reached. In the larger view, that critical thinker must examine a given study in light of similar studies or studies on related topics in order to understand the larger field of study and the literature that supports it.

This week, you will examine how researchers use literature reviews, as well as the purpose and development of a concise article abstract.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this week, you will be able to:
•Evaluate the use of literature in a scholarly research article
•Organize theories and concepts derived from literature into a coherent vista
•Evaluate a research article abstract
•Produce a research article abstract that complies with doctoral-level practices
•Apply advanced resource searching techniques
Tips and Tricks for Literature Searches

Time is a precious commodity, and as a doctoral student you are keenly aware of its value. You are expected to be thorough and exhaustive in your search for academic resources. These expectations don’t only exist so you can avoid duplicating existing research; they also empower and prepare you to contribute to the foundations of thinking and practice in your chosen area of interest. One key to meeting these expectations is to develop proficiency in online searching.

Share your tips and suggestions for finding relevant academic literature. These tips may relate to navigating particular electronic databases, applying general searching techniques, constructing search term queries, broadening or narrowing your initial search results, finding monographs and other resources, or other topics.

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