The literature search

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Research work involves the use of substantial published literature, and it is an expectation for researchers to make proper critical use of relevant sources.

The library is usually the first port of call, with the existence of comprehensive catalogues and collections of primary and tertiary sources.

A literature search is an important part of the process of topic selection as you refine your research question to something feasible and develop a framework to approach your research.

There are three stages of literature review, namely:

  • The descriptive stage which involves reading individual papers

  • The organisation stage, which involves categorising your literature to make reference easier.

  • The analytical stage, which involves organising the literature to inform your own argument

Your task

Imagine the research question you identified last week. What categories would you create to help you manage your resources as your research continues?

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This article is from the free online course:

Researching Risk, Disasters and Emergencies

Coventry University