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Literature reading

Literature reading
In previous sessions, we have learned different techniques and different tips when search literature. Now, some students may also raise a question that although I have all relevant literature, I still face difficulties in reading literature. In part five, let’s have a look at the literature reading process. What is the role of literature in research? What are the tips when you read the literature? And how to make your own reading notes?
Firstly, we should know the role of literature review in research. Literature review helps researchers to familiarize themselves with the existing research achievements in the field. It provides researchers with research ideas and research methods. Lastly, it also provides background information to explain the results of the study.
But I can see that most of the students may have similar problem. Sometimes they feel quite frustrated when they read the literature. Maybe because there’s a massive amount of the literature, or because of the language problems that reading international journals requires certain language skills. Now we have some tips for you. The first tip is trying to focus on abstract. When you search certain topics on international journals, you can find many relevant articles at the first sight. The most important tip is firstly, only read the abstract. When you see the abstract is useful, you can further read the full article.
Next, when you read the full text, what should you do? I’m sure most students may encounter unknown words or terms when you read English journal articles. In this case, do not stop to check dictionary. But try to read it in a whole sentence and guess the meaning from the context. Try to understand research objectives, research questions, and research findings of this article, rather than the meanings of a particular word or term. In journal articles we may see a lot of long sentences, which are complex sentences that you may not understand the meanings. One tip for you is to grasp the structures of the sentence, breaking down the long sentence via conjunctions words.
Last but not the least is try to read more. By reading more literature, you can understand different structures from different types of the research. And you can move from quantity to quality.
One student previously shared with me that she found out making literature reading notes is very important and useful. Another tip I want to share with you is try to make research notes or literature reading notes when reading relevant literature. It is easy to forget when we read. Taking notes can teach us how to read articles and it is easy to get references when you need them.
But what cannot be regarded as literature note? Firstly, a document note cannot be viewed as literature notes. Secondly, the notes should be used for yourself. You should know what notes you’re making. The notes are not for others to read. Thirdly, literature reading note is not a literature review.
The most important thing when you make reading notes is to understand different types of the research. You should have different notes for different types of the research. Taken our field as an example, we may have conceptual paper or empirical paper. What is conceptual paper? Conceptual paper means that the work is mainly to explain a concept and to offer theoretical framework.  It may not contain any data in the work  But it aims to offer you some insights at a conceptual level. What is empirical paper? Empirical paper is the research that uses data to verify hypothesis or answer qualitative research questions. It aims to use empirical data to support the whole study.
 So this is one example showing you different types of the research. For different types of literature notes, you can use different structures and ways of taking notes.
For the literature reading notes of conceptual paper, you can start firstly from the critical components or critical parts of the argument in the paper. What is the critical argument that support the whole thesis? What are the basic propositions in this paper? What are the basic elements in the theoretical framework? When you read the conceptual paper, these are some of the focuses, or tips you should understand while making notes.
But for the empirical articles, what should the literature reading notes look like? For the empirical articles, you should understand what the research questions are. According to the research question, what are the hypotheses or research objectives this study intends to testify; what is the method this study adopts; which type of the data this study uses to support its research objectives. Lastly, what are the findings of the article? So when you want to make the literature reading notes of empirical articles, these five parts can be the emphasized.
To summarize, when you make reading notes for different types of the research,  several tips for you to consider. What are the important parts you want to keep in mind or you want to refer to in your research? What are the similarities and differences in the existing literature? What methods might help you in the future? What are the differences in the research designs of existing scholarship? What do you think of the ideas, arguments, method and discussions in the existing scholarship? And what are your critical points towards the existing scholarship?  All of these points can be considered into your own research process. When you read the literature, try to think more and try to be critical.
Now I will show you different types of notes-making tools. Indeed, there are many tools you can use when you make reading notes. The most conventional ones are the Word and Excel documents. You may use online Apps or softwares to help you to accumulate relevant articles. to help you to accumulate relevant articles.
There are also online software available for you to save relevant articles or make notes.  to save relevant articles or make notes.  For instance, Endnote, you can use Endnote to download all the references. You can also sort different references into different groups by yourself. different groups by yourself. When you open a document, you can make notes on this software. This is one online software you can use to accumulate literature. you can use to accumulate literature.

In this video, we will have a look at the literature reading process. You will have a good understanding of the role of literature in research.

What difficulties do you have in reading literature?

How do you make notes when you read an article?

Could you please share your views with us in the discussion area?

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