Literature Review in My Research Study

literature review

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In the process of research work, analysis of the resources where the issue of one’s research is introduced comes to be the most crucial part. Access to other researchers’ ideas, understanding, findings, and concerns may significantly help a professional who is on the start of the investigating journey. In searching for literature using appropriate key words is considered of great help. When looking for relevant literature the support I got from the NU library advisor was more than helpful. Besides, at the stage of search for resources availability of literature reviews, books, and scholarly articles in the electronic or printed forms is important. To be more exact, credible sources, primary or secondary, one will be able to find may significantly affect the way one’s research will develop.

Moreover, in order not to be dramatically buried under the mass of resources one finds, proper organization of the findings makes sense. During our study we have been given various tips for finding sources, organizing them and writing a concise and coherent literature review. What I found convenient is allocating all the literature I come across or my professors share with us in the folders according to topics, for example, “Leadership”, “Professional identity”, “Reflection”, etc. Thus, the topics are not necessarily connected with my thesis, as I know that I may need the readings later, probably when doing another research.

As for my thesis, since I am going to consider challenges of teaching and learning English at primary schools in Kazakhstan, I use different folders for different issues related to the topic. To be more specific, names of the folders contribute to organizing my literature when writing literature review. Thus, on my computer there are folders named “Learners”, “Teachers”, etc. Inside the folders there are files and documents named specifically, for example, “Learner’s background”, “Professional development”, etc. Besides, I use the exclamation mark when naming a very important reading, for instance, “!!! Challenges California Qualit”. The name shows me clearly ‘what, where and how was studied earlier’.

Since every source I will use in my writing should be given credit, and that is rather time-consuming I made up my mind to keep a word document with list of all readings I come across in my thesis writing. That has sense, as later, when working with collected data and research findings the readings not addressed at the stage of preliminary literature review writing may add to my understanding of the investigated issue.

In terms of writing literature review section I still develop my paraphrasing skills. My thesis instructor has suggested that I should look at the issue of my thesis from one more perspective and at present I am reading through literature I found in order to include it in my paper.


9 thoughts on “Literature Review in My Research Study

  1. Dear Gulnaz, this was clear explanation about how you work on your literature review. The flow of your expressing ideas are good and easy to understand. Your writing style is really good. I completely agree with you that you need to have a good command of finding good resources and appropriate key words. One thing that I learned from your blog is that you write the names of all literature on separate word document which I in my opinion is more convenient than storing them in pdf file in one folder. I also sometimes use resources that are available on that library, anyway I want to ask a question : how do you think is better to locate any credible sources on the topics which do not have much literature?


    1. Dear Akzharkyn,

      Thank you for the comment so far.

      I agree that finding credible sources is a big issue. From peers’ comments I know that they experience problems with finding relevant research literature in Kazakhstan, or even worldwide.

      To help you, have you tried to change the key words of your research? Personally, I got this advice from our NU library advisor and it worked!!!

      Best regards,

      Gulnaz Zhukenova


      1. Dear Gulnaz,

        I find your post really helpful in terms of organisation. I am currently struggling with organisation. Thank you!
        What I find particuarly challenging is losing focus of my research. The more articles I read the more ambiguous feelings about my research problem I have. I think my ambiguity arises from lack of organisation and system with my literature.
        How do you cope with all the articles you read?
        As for me, I tag first page of every article I read, for example, “it is about types of motivation” and “this is about factors leading to persistent motivation”. However, now I am overwhelmed with all those tags not knowing how to put them into a system.


  2. Dear Aliya,

    I understand your worries. In order to solve the problem let us look at the issue from another perspective. First, what is the purpose of your research? Secondly, what questions do you want to answer? What, if instead of tagging each resource we would try to focus on those which to some extent bring information concerning the mentioned points? Will it help to better organise the materials you find? Also, did you distinguish any topics or subtopics related to your research?
    Hope this helps.
    By the way, your questions made me reflect on my own way of organising literature. Thank you!))

    Best regards,

    Gulnaz Zhukenova


    1. Dear Gulnaz,
      It has been well said that “while teaching someone, we learn ourselves”. That’s true.)
      I am glad you could come up with a new way of organizing your literature.

      Thank you for your tips. You are the third person telling me about focusing on my reseacrh questions while reviewing literature. I guess it is the most acknowledged way of being on the right track.

      Kind regards, Aliya Baratova


  3. Gulnaz, Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful post. I see all your advice as a clear indication of your continued effort in becoming an educational professional who knows how to do research.

    I can only recommend for you to proofread all writing a second time with a magnifying glass to really perfect your writing. One sentence jumps out at me:
    “In terms of writing literature review section I still develop my paraphrasing skills.” Can you find the one article error and the one verb tense error?

    And one more thing, is not a link to your image. Please share a more specific owner of this borrowed material.
    Nice work!



    1. Dear Philip,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      As for the errors,

      “In terms of writing a literature review section I am still developing my paraphrasing skills.” Is it right now?))

      Best regards,

      Gulnaz Zhukenova


  4. You got the verb spot on, but the article could be a or the. If you are talking about A literature review (as in ANY lit review for ANY future paper) then, yes, you are correct. But if you are talking about THE literature review in your thesis (a specific example), use THE.


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