All graduate students have unpleasant things to say about literature review. The process is not very exciting. When you are done with the literature review and move on to collecting the data and research, there is never enough time update literature review. If you stop searching for frequent articles and journals doesn’t mean the research world stopped publishing. In the time it takes for you to complete the research, articles will be published and you will eventually have to go back to the daunting task of updating the research. Here are some efficient strategies for keeping up with the never-ending literature review when it’s not your number one priority. These efficient tips will also help you in the real world after graduation. So, here we go:
Related Articles to your Thesis
It’s important to track search terms in the process of literature review process. When you are busy with other parts of the thesis, it’s good to set up automatic searches. It allows you to enter keywords and you receive an email regarding all the latest papers with your standard keywords. If your search engine doesn’t support the feature of weekly emails, then try out Scopus and PubMed. The biggest advantage of tracking search terms is that you will get the most of the up to date research.
Articles not directly related to your study
The above strategy that we discussed is limited to searching related articles and general methods with different techniques. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for journals related to your field of study. If you are not connected to the university server, then you can read all the abstracts in the Table of Contents. They don’t change very often however; you need to figure out a way to check the ones from the press. They are updated frequently. You can use Google Reader or the Pulse app on iPad for browsing. Another technique is to find a listserv related to your main topic.
We generally give priority to scholarly work, it’s good to track all the major headlines related to your work. They can be valuable in guiding you how the general public perceive your field. Skygrid for iPad is a great way to start. It lets you enter keywords and you can receive article headlines. This isn’t the most perfect app because search results are often too broad; you will get the basic idea. Articles from different news outlets will come your way and you will get to know what’s trending. Keeping up with Twitter feeds also helps in covering media grounds for research.
No matter what tricks or tricks you use to keep your literature review updated, remember two things: don’t check it too often because you have other tasks too and try to automate the searches as much as possible. Following these simple guidelines you can the literature review process less painful as you reach the finish line!