Taking notes for a better literature review

As you prepare to write a literature review for your thesis, you will read enormous amount of text. To make sure that you include in your literature review everything useful that you’ve read, it is important that you take notes. Notes will serve as a guide map to your confused and irritated brain!

  • keep a record of the keywords that lead you to useful articles.
  • keep highlighting or marking text that you believe to be probably useful.
  • Use spider diagrams or flow charts to join the dots! This particularly helpful when you need to draw a fresh inference in your research. Diagrams can also be used to study connections.
  • prepare a sheet where you enlist issues to be addressed in your research and against each issue mention whatever useful you read about it. Remember to mention authors and how they look at the issue. some authors may suggest and you may agree. Other times, you may disagree with what an author suggests. Whatever be the case, record it accordingly.
  • you can use a database like Microsoft one note or Evernote; or maybe a PDF markup manager. Reference managers like Zotero, Mendeley and Endnote will also help you organize all your reviewed papers in a systematic manner.
  • Academic phrase bank is a web source that helps you in phrasing your review better.