1) Decide on your topic- keep the scope broad to start with. You don’t yet know what’s out there or where the gaps are.
2) Identify themes, debate and gaps - Start with a broad search, evaluate the arguments and identify the gaps.
- sample size
- spread of study
- literature which the paper relies upon
- discussion angle
- conclusions (in the context of the study type and methodology).
Remember that just because it’s published doesn’t make it high quality!
- how this work relates to other published work
- how this work uses theories and conceptual approaches
- how robust is the methodology?
- are the conclusions valid?
- What does this work potentially contribute in practice?
- A thorough literature review
- Insights into what can be validly done methodologically
Remember methodology and methods aren’t the same. Methodology is the theoretical stance which supports your elected method. Method is how you do choose to do your research.
Options include: quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods.
Think why you are doing the lit search? What is your aim? If the aim is to influence policy making or provide the evidence base behind policy making or an intervention- read up on policies in the space and the evidence behind them
- Outline the scope of your review and how you have done it
- Start broad
- Use subheadings to hone in on specific areas.
- The more lit you have read, the tighter your wording will be and the more closet referenced your review will be.