I’m coming to the end of my Literature Review… I say coming to the end of it, what I mean is the end of the first hit, before I go on to do more of my own independent research, read some more papers, amend it, write some of my own papers, discover more papers, add some more detail, collaborate with other researchers, review the evidence, and summarise the understanding of the science at the point in time when I finally submit my thesis three years from now. So it’s not the finished product.
One thing that I have found very useful is to keep a very detailed bibliography. A big, long list of all the papers and articles I’ve read. Well, all of the useful ones. That piece on First World Problems, while interesting and entertaining, has nothing to do with my research on heritage buildings or projected climate change.
I sometimes include brief details of conversations I’ve had with people about my research – especially those where I’ve had a ‘Eureka!’ moment. Many of the articles, links, books, programmes, videos cover similar topics and there’s overlap. Sometimes there’ll be something totally different just thrown in there. I also try to find papers that present a contradictory view / answer to the mainstream consensus or accepted view, to challenge myself and to exercise my analytical muscles (climate change is an especially good one for this, more musings to come in a future post).
While writing my literature review, I know that I won’t be citing every single thing in the bibliography (it currently stands at over 300 sources!), but at some point in the future I might remember a thing I read in one of those random sources and relate it to a piece of upcoming research, or it might click with something I discover in my own experiments in future. Who knows? But if I keep a list, at least I’ll know where to find that info.