SEARCH UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
The resources listed below, and in the right column, are a sample of what can be used to manage a literature review "systematically".
Document your plans, thoughts and choices as you start, and as you proceed. For example, ask what ?, why ?, how do I know ? Document insights as you have them if possible, or soon after (you may not remember them later). You might have daily entries, or comments you enter whenever you do anything on your project. A good idea is to date when you write something down. Use a "paper" notebook, or use "folders" with "Word" documents on your computer. Or use software programs like Evernote , Dropbox, or iSync. Those programs support making notes on computer and 'saving to cloud' for access. As noted below, each of these research log tools might have sections for different kinds of comments.
Research logs can be simply keeping a notebook with any kind of comments or questions you have about anything related to your project. You may have sections on your initial understanding and goals for the project, on searches tried, on methods for analysis, on possible relevant considerations, on problems, etc.
More Involved Logs
You may have notebook sections like the following for comments, etc. related to your review project:
The University Libraries' guide for "How to do a Literature Review" includes basic discussion and templates that can be used for designing search strategies and for completing the search process. That guide also has the following sampling of ideas on documenting your search. Other input might be obtained through consultation with a librarian.
Here is a list of activities that is suggestive for documenting your literature search process
Kable, A. H., Pich, J., and Maslin-Prothero, S. (2012)
A structured approach to documenting a search strategy for publication: A 12-step guideline for authors.
Nurse Education Today, 32, 878-886.
The University Libraries' guide for "How to do a Literature Review" includes discussion and templates, as seen below, that can be used to guide the process of "extracting" information which is then used for documenting the process of selecting information used for the review.
The "Matrix Method" is an approach to organizing, monitoring, and documenting your search activities. The 2 links below will open in a new window. The bottom 2 links download a Microsoft Word document to your computer.
The Matrix Method of Literature Reviews
To read this journal article off-campus, KSU users will log in with FlashLine ID and PW.
Writing a Literature Review and Using a Synthesis Matrix
From North Carolina State Tutorial Services. Ingram, Hussey, Tigani, Hemmelgarn, & Huneycutt, contributors
Create Your Own matrix in MS Word.
This blank matrix is ready for you to use for your own research review.
From Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care:A Practical Guide by Helen Aveyard
This book is available in the KSU Libraries collection.
Guidance for reporting implies what should be documented. Such guidance may also imply steps needed to insure documentation is completed.
See the "reporting" guidelines in the Manuals under the Manuals tab.
The aim of the PRISMA Statement is to help authors improve the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. We have focused on randomized trials, but PRISMA can also be used as a basis for reporting systematic reviews of other types of research, particularly evaluations of interventions. PRISMA may also be useful for critical appraisal of published systematic reviews, although it is not a quality assessment instrument to gauge the quality of a systematic review.
There is a range of software for managing literature review steps. A sample of these and their uses is given below. Contact Paul Fehrmann for consultation or for arranging group sessions.
EndNote Web, Mendeley, Zotero
Wikipedia chart comparing features is here.
Kent State University no longer provides free access to RefWorks as noted here.