Kelvin Smith Library
As you retrieve sources, skim the article to get the “big picture” to ascertain its relevancy to your topic. You don’t have to understand every single idea in a text the first time you read it.
DON'T FORGET TO SAVE RETRIEVED SOURCES!
Where was the paper published? What kind of journal it is? Is the journal peer-reviewed? Can you tell what the paper is about? Who are the authors? What are their credentials? Where are they from? What are the sections of the article? Are these clearly defined?
What is the overall context? Is the problem clearly stated? What does the paper bring new? Did it miss any previous major studies? Identify all the author’s assumptions.
Reference management tools are excellent tool to help you with collection, organization, note taking, sharing, and writing bibliographies. It takes disciple to use them efficiently but if done dilligently, the results are worthy.
Read for comprehension
After first evaluation of sources, critically read the selected sources. Your goal is to determine how much of it to accept, determine its value, and decide whether you plan to include it in your literature review.
Read the whole article, section by section but not necessarily in order and make sure you understand:
Introduction: What is known about the research and what is still unknown.
Methods: What was measured? How was measured? Were the measurement appropriate? Did they offer sufficient evidence?
Results: What is the main finding? Were there enough data presented? Were there problems not addressed?
Discussions: Are these conclusions appropriate? Are there other factors that might have influenced? What does it need to be done to answer remaining questions?
Find answers to your question from first step
Formulate new questions and try to answer them
Can you find any discrepancies? What would you have done differently?
Re-read the whole article or just sections as many times you feel you need to
When you believe that you have understood the article, write a summary in your own words (Make sure that there is nothing left that you cannot understand)