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HDR Literature Review Plan

Five steps

A typical literature review workflow may include the following five steps: 

Find your literature

Search across a range of information sources to identify and find literature relevant for your thesis. The pages in this guide are arranged to assist you with planning, beginning, and expanding your search: explore them to find more detail and instructions.

Manage your references

As you accumulate literature by searching databases and the Internet, you will need to organise and store it for later review. In other words, you are creating your own living database of the literature you've accumulated throughout your research project.

This can be a very manual and time consuming process. Fortunately, there is a range of reference management software that can help you automate some parts of the process and make your literature review process more efficient and resilient.

The next page in the guide will discuss how to choose the right software for you and your project.

Annotate and tag

As you begin to read through the literature you have collected, you will be making notes, categorising articles with themes and key concepts, and collecting great quotations to support your review.

Using software throughout this process can assist you to make connections, synthesise what is and is not known, compare perspectives, identify gaps, and build a coherent evaluation.

This process can be done manually with pen and paper or with the assistance of literature analysis tools.

Develop your review

To develop your review you will need to analyse and synthesise your annotated content to:

  • Identify relationships between ideas
  • Identify similarities and differences in research findings
  • Identify unanswered questions
  • Document the development of ideas over time
  • Identify directions for future research

Cite, format & write

When you write up your literature review, reference management and literature analysis software will assist you to:

  • Format your in-text citations
  • Create the bibliography as you write
  • Save and retrieve useful quotations and relevant information from literature quickly