In another “back-to-basics” link round-up, I’m sharing articles from the past few months about searching the literature, reading what you’ve found, and taking notes from it.
Have a good read and a great weekend!
Searching the literature
First, “ground yourself in the topic by reading some reviews just to get to grips with all the basics”.
In order to do just that, check out this video by ScholarStudio which shows you some strategies to find literature that gives an overview of your field.
– Do some ‘detective work’: use reference lists from papers that are really spot on as clues to new searches;
– Keep up-to-date: find out where the research in your field is mainly published and sign up for alerts or new issues of journals.
In this set of slides, Pat Thomson shows how to generate questions from your topic in order to help you find the literatures you really need.
Visualize your searches with Trailblazer: this app traces your search history, creating a visualization of your search, and saves the path that you took, the sites you clicked on, and the places you stopped along the way.
What Happens When Finding Everything is So Easy? How literature search habits have changed with the advent of Google Scholar.
How much literature is enough? Hint: the challenge is not to read everything, but to intelligently select what to read.
Reading what you’ve found
Lee Skallerup Bessette highlights the many many ways in which she reads every day.
Tseen Khoo tells us how she’s trying to turn reading into a habit. She averages 2 articles a day. Could you do it too?
Speed reading can help you save time, identify key information, and enjoy the process!
Musings on reading older literature.
“In academia, people don’t ‘read’ things. They ‘go through’ them.”
Don’t forget to take notes!
If you want to make sure you won’t have to read all of that literature again in a few months, you’d better start summarizing it. Pat Thomson gives some great advice on how to go about it.
Raul Pacheco-Vega rounded-up some great online resources about summarising journal articles and writing critical reviews.
Then he proceeded to explain how he highlights journal articles and takes notes from them.
And here, he details his technique and his colour-coding further.
Have you read (or written!) other interesting articles on those topics recently?
Share them in the comments!