Collecting literature that you want to review and analyze for potential use in your major literature review assignment can quickly become messy. Your goal this week is to find a process where you are able to organize your thoughts and keep track of the strengths and weaknesses of different studies while also tracking the arguments and trends you are seeing in the research. As you build this chart, you will be able to begin to identify ideas that appear repeatedly in the research. This will support you in making sense of the many different research approaches as you bring ideas together for synthesis in the literature review. It is important to note that everything you read might not end up in your literature review. That being said, you should still log every article you read in your matrix. Your final Literature Review Matrix will most likely have more than the 5 – 8 primary research sources that are required for the actual literature review.
This is something that will tie directly to your preferred working styles and how you best manage flows of information. So, it’s not an assignment with one clear option for how to complete the work. You are welcome to propose a format that is best for you that meets the following criteria:
Easily scanned and reviewed for key ideas and concepts
Includes details about each article (reference citation, study highlights, your key “findings,” any questions you have about each article)
Includes themes/big ideas from each study that can help you do the synthesizing for your final literature review
Can be added to throughout this course and subsequent research courses
Create a table to manage this set of details – in word or in excel.