Dear Master’s Programs student:
Earlier in the semester, the Master’s Programs Office hosted its Literature Review seminar. For those who weren’t able to come, I’ve listed some of the points about which we talked.
- Ask your instructor to suggest a model literature review. This can be a great starting place to give you some ideas on how to organize your own review. It may also provide you foundational articles to start your research process.
- Make friends with the USC librarians. Melanee Vicedo, the USC social sciences librarian, is a phenomenal resource for researching in the field of education. If you’re not sure exactly where to start, contact her for suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make a timeline for yourself, and stay on track. It’s easy to procrastinate on a long-range assignment like a lit review. By making a schedule, you’ll be sure to set enough time for each step in the research process.
- Keep clear records of your searches and your findings from the beginning. It takes a little more time in the beginning, but when you get down to citations in your review, this actually saves you time overall.
- Remember that writing a literature review is a recursive process. As you read, you’ll refine your thoughts and assumptions; as you refine your thoughts and assumptions, your research focus may shift. And as your focus shifts, you’ll modify your search terms and readings—then the whole process starts over again!