Muirhead (2004) states that the literature review process is often a major challenge for graduate students who must learn to effectively work with computer technology and manage larger volumes of available information. I think most of you will agree with the statement of Muirhead (2004), since most of us are facing the challenges of writing literature review. Moreover, in a world where the Internet has broadened the range of potentially relevant sources, however, doing a literature review can pose challenges even to an experienced researcher (Knopf, 2006).
Why it is challenging? The literature review in its own has several functions such as identification deficiencies, or gaps in existing knowledge or practice that need to be addressed; identification of points of debate and convergence in the literature; measuring and discussing the overall quality of the reviewed literature and so on . Therefore, it requires more effort from the writer.
What is required for carrying out quality literature review? What I have understood so far, to carry out a quality literature review it is not enough only to make efforts only, also skills and abilities, patience and diligence are required. As for as skills and abilities, Hart (1998, Muirhead, 2004) defines the ability to integrate theory and method as a crucial ability for carrying out literature review. According to Muirhead (2004), reviewing the literature also requires patience and diligence from researcher. They are of vital importance, since most of the common mistakes like poor alignment of the literature review with the researchers own study; inclination to rely on secondary sources rather than on primary sources in reviewing the literature, non-critical evaluation of existing literature happen only because the researcher does not possess patience and diligence. Since the advances in technology increasing the possibility to conduct manually done operations automatically, I think that ICT skills must be considered while discussing the skills required for conducting literature review.
What techniques and strategies I used to overcome faced challenges? The first challenge I faced was time allocation for literature review. I dealt with this problem by setting a schedule for conducting a literature review. The second challenge that I have faced while I was writing literature review was finding of sources. To overcome the challenge of finding sources I mostly used the searching in referencing. Finally, now I am at the stage of analyzing and synthesizing selected literature for my paper. Fortunately, at this stage of my study, one of my colleagues has shared her experience of using web tool zotero (http//www.zotero.org), which I am planning to use as well. Zotero is an only research tool built by practicing researchers and teachers, at the Centre for History and New Media at George Mason University that automatically senses content in your web browser. It collects, organize, cite, synchronize the data of your research and gives opportunity to create and join research groups to focus on any topic you choose.
To sum up, I hope that my groupmates will finally collect the pieces of jigsaw puzzle using advice given by all groupmates and write a quality literature review until the start of fall sessions.
Knopf, J.W., (2006). Doing a Literature Review. PS: Political Science & Politics. Vol.39, No. 01:127-132.
Retrieved from September 19, 2015 from http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1038752. files/Doing_a_Literature_Review.pdf
Muirhead., B, (2004). Literature Review Advice [online document]. International Journal of Instructional
Technology and Distance Learning. Vol.1, No. 2. Retrieved from September 25, 2015