SEARCH UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Document the Process
Simple Logs or "Notebooks"
You might simply keep 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, "Notebooks", or a "File/Folder System".
You may have notebook sections like the following for comments, etc. related to your review project. These may also be separate "files" or "folders" in a "filing system" (again, paper or electronic).
In addition to a research log (or filing system) for documenting your "overall literature review" goals, activities, ideas, and comments, etc., there are more detailed approaches for documenting your literature search activities (e.g., document computer searches, article selection, and the selection of information for use from the articles). Thoughts and resources for this kind of documenting are below.
A step-by-step framework to consider for documenting your literature search process:
These steps taken from: 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. Read the article online here.
More on documenting:
The "Matrix Method" is an approach to organizing, monitoring, and documenting your search activities.
Some questions to ask when appraising the literature!
1. From Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care: A Practical Guide by Helen Aveyard
2. Critical Appraisal Tools drawn from or related to the health sciences
It can be valuable to use "tools for appraising" the literature that is then used in a literature review.
"Critical appraisal is an integral process in Evidence Based Practice. Critical appraisal aims to identify methodological flaws in the literature and provide consumers of research evidence the opportunity to make informed decisions about the quality of research evidence..." This site offers "a list of critical appraisal tools, linked to the websites where they were developed." - from the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE).