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OASIS Writing Skills

Webinar Transcripts:
Literature Review Panel with the Library and Writing Center

Transcripts for the Writing Center's webinars.

Literature Review Panel with the Library and Writing Center

Presented Thursday, May 19th, 2016

View the webinar recording

Last updated 5/31/2016


Visual: The webinar opens with a main pod for the slides and captioning, Q&A, and files pods stacked on the right side of the screen. The slide shows the title of the webinar and the information on each of the panelists and the moderator. The panelists from the Library are listed as Anne Rojas, Reference & Instruction Librarian and Susan Stekel, Information Literacy & Instruction Manager. The panelists from the Writing Center are listed as Carey Little Brown, Dissertation Editor and Meghan Irving, Dissertation Editor. Beth Nastachowski, from the Writing Center is listed as the moderator.

Audio: Beth: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the webinar today. My name is Beth Nastachowski. I am the manager for the Writing Center, and I want to say a big welcome to the Library and the Writing Center. I'm excited for this session. I think it's useful to bring them together to talk about the literature review.

I wanted to give our panelists a chance to say hello and maybe a little bit about themselves. Do we want to start with you?

Audio: Anne: Sure. Hi, I'm Anne Rojas, and I'm one of the librarians. I am the liaison to the College of Education, but we help everybody regardless of the topic. I'm here in Minneapolis this morning.

Audio: Beth: Thank you so much. And I will say a quick hello for Susan. Susan is information and literacy manager. She'll be answering the library-related questions in the Q & A box. Cary, do you want to go next?

Audio: Cary: Hi, I'm Cary Little Brown and I’m one of the dissertation editors who conducts the formal review in the doctoral process. I’ve been at Walden since 2012 but I’ve been editing APA since 2002. I love talking about the literature review. And yeah, thank you for having me, Beth.

Audio: Beth: Thank you. Meghan, do you want to go next?

Audio: Megan: Sure! I’m Meghan Irving and I’m also one of the dissertation editors. Along with Carey, I help with the style review. I've been with Walden since 2010, but I am a new transplant with the Writing Center. I'll be in the background and taking on questions, you know, for the Writing Center during the presentation.

Audio: Beth: Alright. Thank you so much everyone.


Visual: The slide changes to “Housekeeping” and details how to use the webinar features that Beth discusses.

Audio: Beth: So, before I hand it over to our panelists, I have a couple of housekeeping notes that I want to start with. We are recording this session. So if you have to leave for any reason or you'd like to come back to the session or view any of our webinars, you're welcome to go to our webinar to access that. I will post the recording by tomorrow evening, but I will probably get to that tonight.

There's also lots of ways for you to interact for us. There's no polls or chats for this session, but we do have the file pod which includes resources for doctoral students as well as the students that I'm displaying right here. The slides themselves are a great resource, and we encourage you to click that link during the session or download the slides to have access to those later.

We encourage you to use the Q & A pod, and that's a great place to enter comments throughout the day. As we talked about, Susan and Megan are going to be monitoring that box, but they'll also add questions to the discussion for the voice of the panel. Feel free to ask those questions.

But if you have more questions after the session, you're more than welcome to email those for the editor or the library. We'll have those addresses up at the end of the session so you can write them down. There's a help button at the top of your screen, and that's the best place to go for technical help and Adobe help.


Visual: The slide changes to “Overview and Objectives” and has three bulleted items that Beth discusses.

Audio: So our objectives for today. We have a couple of things that we're going to be talking about first, and that is literature review resources from both the Library and the Writing Center. Then we're going to have the main focus of our session, which is the round table panel discussion, and then we'll end with resources for capstone students. And these are resources that is relevant for all sessions of your capstone study, so we'll mention those as well. That's mainly our focus today. We’re going to really focus on the middle part, that panel discussion.


Visual: The slide changes to “Library resources for the literature review” and has three hyperlinked resources in a bulleted list: Doctoral appointments, Library liaison in your subject area, and Library guide to capstone literature reviews. Beth reviews them.

Audio: But before we get to that, I wanted to mention these resources. And this is really going to be a quick overview because I want to hand this over to our Cary and Ann for our discussion today. There are resources for the lit review from the library—and if you have questions, let us know in the Q & A box. The library has doctoral appointments, liaisons in your subject area, and a Library guide to capstone literature reviews. You can click that link, which I highly recommend. And in general, I just can't say enough about how good the librarians are and how good and helpful they are. Be sure to reach out to them for help researching your literature review.


Visual: The slide changes to “Writing Center resources for the literature review. It shows a bulleted list of hyperlinked resources available at the Writing Center. Beth discusses these briefly.

Audio: For the Writing Center, We have a couple of different resources listed here: there's a page with some basic information about the literature review, a couple of you mentioned that you were in your prospectus or early in the process so this would be good. But we also have a literature review webinar that focuses on writing the literature review, some blog posts, organizational tools, plagiarism prevention modules, and many more. So as I said, download these files to have these links for later and you can poke through those on your own as well.


Visual: The slide changes to “Panel discussion” and lists four guiding questions for the panel: How does someone start to do a literature review? What are some key resources or citation management programs you can recommend? What do you do if you do not have enough sources? Is it possible to include too much in a literature review (too many sources and/or too much information)?

Audio: Alright, so with that, let’s get to the main event here, which is our panel discussion. And Anne and Cary, I wondered if it would make sense to start at the very beginning, particularly since this is the beginning of our discussion. How do we start to do a literature review? What are the first steps? I kind of throw that to either Anne or Cary, where you suggest they start when they're at the very beginning.

Audio: Anne: Okay. This is Anne. I guess I can start. I think looking in to the literature, a general topic is a great place to start. We encourage people to start broadly and kind of focus in according to what you find and what peaks your interest and kind of take it from there. So I think that searching for the literature is an obvious first place to go, but a lot of people get focused in on a specific topic to start. And I usually suggest to people to search a little bit more broadly to begin to get a feel for a broader lay of the land, what's surrounding the topic. Cary, I don't know if you want to talk about the—the beginnings of getting organized or --

Audio: Cary: Well, I do agree that I think that identifying the literature that's—you know, that you're going to be using will be the first step. I do think there is some pre-writing activities that could be useful as well as—you know, and you said, I think we may go into this with one of the later questions, but there are a number of organizational matrices and other tools that we have on the Writing Center website that will help you to organize some of the information that you're finding in the literature that could be useful, you know, even at the very early stages, stages of exploring what's out there. In terms of brainstorming and so on, I would think what comes to my mind is identifying keywords that are going to help you find literature that's germane to the topic that you're interested in. But I'm not a—you know, that's library area.

Audio: Anne: Absolutely.

Audio: Cary: So—yeah. And that's that—I think I'll talk a bit more about the matrices in a later question. That provides a framework to record-- and the important citation details, you know, of the sources that you're—that you're reading. But more importantly, some of the key thematic issues that are coming across in the literature which will help you to figure out what the themes are as a whole when you're working across that matrix.

Audio: Anne: Yeah. So as you search through the literature, obviously, you're going to go to your subject areas to find what's available in the databases that are suggested for your specific topic. We also have great multidisciplinary databases which should be check as well because eventually, the ultimate goal is to find all of the things that are written about and surrounding your topic. I guess I'm not sure if I—we should go into do a demo.

Audio: Beth: We sure can if that would be useful.

Audio: Anne: Why don't we go into the library website?

Audio: Beth: All right. Just one second. Let me get that going. All right.


Visual: The screen changes. The PowerPoint is no longer visible. Beth is screen sharing her view of the Library homepage. The tabs at the top of the homepage are Start Your Research, Ask a Librarian, Services, About, and Help. The homepage also has five buttons in the sidebar menu: Course Readings, Assignment Resources, Articles by Topic, Find Exact Article, and Ask a Librarian.

Audio: Beth: You should be seeing the website.


Visual: As Anne discusses how to navigate the Library website, Beth clicks on Articles by Topic. A new webpage opens to show different subject areas for research in the Library.

Audio: Anne: Okay. So we have our main points of entry with the buttons on the left. Articles by topic is where we would usually go to start, and those are organized by subject areas according to the different programs that are offered at Walden. Beth scrolls through the menu of hyperlinked subject areas. We'll—we can go into the education page just because that's what I'm most familiar with.


Visual: Beth then clicks on the Education page which opens a new webpage. This page is titled “Education Research: Databases: Articles & More.” On the left is a new sidebar menu with a submenu with options for searching databases. The sidebar menu continues with other education research choices, but the rest of the sidebar menu is not completely visible. The first box at the top of the page has hyperlinks for Education databases, multidisciplinary databases, related subject databases, and doctoral resources.

Audio: But you can see here that in the beginning through the center are the recommended databases in the first—first box of links. And then if—as you move down, through the page—I'll move down just a little bit.

Audio: Beth: Keep going?


Visual: Beth scrolls down the page until she comes to multidisciplinary databases. The hyperlinks in order are Taylor and Frances Online, ScienceDirect, SAGE Premier, ProQuest Central, and Academic Search Complete. Each hyperlink is followed by a short description about the journals in the database. Anne discusses the various databases.

Audio: Anne: Yep. Multidisciplinary databases. They also have—for instance, ScienceDirect has a lot of social science titles. Taylor and Francis is good for all areas. And SAGE Premier is hopefully something you’re familiar with. So you can go into any of these to search your topic.


Visual: Beth scrolls down to the next section “Related Subject Databases” and has hyperlinks and descriptions for PsycINFO, SocINDEX with Full Text, Political Science Complete, and See all subject areas. Anne discusses these a bit as well.

Audio: And obviously, related subject databases would apply such as leadership, you can find in business and management as well as find out from PsycINFO. You can find out additional information about leadership issues, personality types of different types of leaders and that—that sort of literature that's available. So why don't we move back up and maybe go into Sage?


Visual: Beth scrolls back up the page according to Anne’s direction.

Audio: Beth: That was under here.

Audio: Anne: It's in the multidisciplinary.

Audio: Beth: I'm less familiar with these databases, everyone, than Anne is.


Visual: Beth clicks on SAGE Premier and a new page opens in the same tab. The page is labelled SAGE journals and has these tabs across the top: Home, Search, Browse, My Tools, Information & Services. The Search tab is highlighted and the page shows Advanced Search. There are four boxes for inserting search terms all connected by options for Boolean operators. The top two boxes are followed by options for search fields, as are the bottom two.

Audio: Beth: There we go.

Audio: Anne: And so really, the important thing to remember—hopefully, you're familiar with it—is to search by keyword and concept as opposed to searching a whole sentence like we’re used to in Google Scholar. So you can put in leadership, for example, and—and then you can put in a second concept. Let's try higher education.


Visual: Beth enters the search terms that Anne stated and clicks on the search button. The search results page contains two tabs at the top: Content Results and Journal Title Results. This search yielded 20788 results from January 1847 through November 2016.

Audio: And what that's doing is looking for the overlap of anything mentioning leadership and higher education. So this will give you an idea, looking through the abstracts and the title, and as I said before, getting ideas for different subconcepts, different themes that are interesting to you.

It's important to find a topic that's grounded in the literature. So when you start looking at the literature, you can find out what has been done, what the gaps are, and you can find out what other people is recommending is good for further investigation. So I guess that's how I would recommend starting. Obviously, this was a super-broad example to start with, but you can poke around to see what you can find available on whatever your general topic is and you can always book appointments with your subject liaison or contact us through ask a librarian if you need help brainstorming topics and keywords or anything related.

Audio: Beth: And—and Anne, thinking about keywords, do you have suggestions for students on how to identify their keywords or how to find—how to decide which keywords to use?

Audio: Anne: Well, if you start with your broad topics, and you look through the subject lines of your results when you do general searches like this, you'll get an idea for the language in the literature. That is usually way to get ideas to get synonyms. Also, the abstract is a good place to find additional vocabulary that you can search. So really, it's kind of a snowball effect of something broad, you're looking through, getting ideas of what's discussed, and what terminology is being used around that topic.


Visual: Beth stops screen sharing the Library website and the slide is again visible.

Audio: Beth: And I wonder if that would be an appropriate time, since we're talking about finding the research, what suggestions you have or what students can do to organize the literature once they do have it. Does that make sense to you?

Audio: Anne: Sure. Sure. Well, there are two things that you need to keep track of, one is to keep track of searches, and where you've been searching. There is a section in Chapter 2 about how you went about your search. Use a table of what databases you were in, what terms you used, what you found, what ideas you got from that. Then once you've found your literature, you have to keep track of that as well. The Writing Center has a lit review matrix. I don't know if you want to talk about that first or --

Audio: Cary: Sure. I can talk about that. Beth, should I show my screen and I can just give a guide to where that's located on our website?

Audio: Beth: Sure. Certainly. If you want to share your screen, or I can show mine. Either way.

Visual: Cary shares her screen to show the Writing Center website. The page Common Course Assignments: Organizational Tools is open. The main box on this page has hyperlinks for organizational tools for literature reviews. The first two links lead to PDF examples of completed matrices. The next link leads to a MS Word document template for a literature review matrix. The last link leads to an Excel document template for a literature review matrix. Across the top of the webpage are the tabs for the Writing Center webpage: Writing Help, Grammar & Composition, Scholarly Writing, APA Style, and About. On the left is a sidebar menu specific to Common Course Assignments. Cary discusses how to navigate to this specific webpage as she hovers over the various tabs and buttons.

Audio: Cary: I think I can do it. Let's make sure it's working.

Audio: Okay. We have a section of our website that you'd get to by—let's see—going to the Scholarly Writing tab, which is on our main page, and going down to common course assignments.


Visual: Cary scrolls down the page to the appropriate location in the sidebar menu under Organizational Tools and then scrolls back up to view the resources as she discusses them.

Audio: There's a literature review here. You can see all the topics are here. I'm in the organizational tools area in our literature review section. We've compiled several different formats. We have PDFs and Excel if you want to work in a spreadsheet for a large amount of information. We have large documents for organizing your literature review. And as I said, I believe the one in Excel has the greatest capability in terms of being able to accommodate a large amount of data. A spreadsheet is less constrained than a table in Word. I'm going to show what the one of the PDF matrices looks like, and that is right here.


Visual: Cary opens a PDF document in a new tab that shows an example of a completed literature review matrix. Across the top of the matrix are the column headers Author/date, Theoretical/conceptual framework, methodology, analysis & results, conclusions, implications for future research, implications for practice. Each row is completed for a different journal article. Cary discusses this.

Audio: So this one is labeled as a table, and that's not necessary. This gives you an idea of the things you would write down an area for framework, the research questions, and hypotheses, a summary of methodology, some areas for finding conclusions, implications, and so forth. The idea of using something like this is that, over time, as you compile more information, you can look down these columns and start seeing connections between the sources. Maybe start noticing gaps in the research, things that aren't being addressed in what you’re reading that you may want to address in your own work.

Visual: Cary goes back to the windows tab with the Organizational Tools webpage.

Audio: I think these can be a powerful tool, and, of course, the key is finding one or developing one of your own that's going to provide the key information that's most useful to you.

Audio: Beth: Thanks so much. Sorry. I was just going to ask you, Anne, what else you had. Sorry.


Visual: Cary stops sharing her screen. The PowerPoint slide with the Panel discussion guiding questions is visible again.

Audio: Anne: That's all right. Yeah. Another thing that you can use is citation management software, which there are lots of different kinds of software. We often tell people in the library to go to Google and look for a comparison of reference management software chart. There's one in Wikipedia. Believe it or not, your librarian is telling you to go to Wikipedia. I think the link was sent out to you. So basically, that—I don't know if it's possible for you to get that up on the screen.

Audio: Beth: Yeah. I sure can. I'll get that set up.

Visual: Beth opens the Wikipedia chart that compares reference management software and starts scrolling through it as Anne discusses it.

Audio: Anne: It's a great way to see what's available. You can get an idea of how many different software management citation programs there are. This will tell you if it's free or if there's a cost and how much the cost is. You can talk with your fellow students, faculty, find out what other people have tried, try a few of the top contenders and see what works for you. So this is another way that you can get an idea of how to organize things.

So you've got the option of the matrices that are offered through the Writing Center or you can download software, whether it would be free, or something that you would pay for.


Visual: The Library website homepage is now on the screen and Beth navigates to the Zotero information as Cary directs her to go to the help tab at the top and select the research process.

Audio: We do have a guide in the library for some help with Zotero. Most of the guide points you to the website. If you go under help, I think that—oh, yeah. You can do that, too. The research process.


Visual: The Research Process page opens and Beth scrolls down towards the bottom to the box labelled Save & organize your research. She clicks on the hyperlink for Learn about Zotero Reference Manager.

Audio: Beth: I'm sorry, the screen is really small. Thank you.

Audio: So it's right there.


Visual: The page changes to Zotero Citation Manager: Getting Started. The sidebar menu for Zotero has button for Getting Started, Add & Edit Items, Organize your Zotero Library, Create Reference Lists & In-Text Citations, Full Text & OpenURL, and Where to Find Troubleshooting Help.

Audio: And again, we're not really endorsing Zotero. It just happens to be one that quite a few librarians are familiar with. Other ones that have been popular with students that we’ve heard about are Mendeley and Qippa. They are trending now, but it really is a personal preference. So this is a good way to keep track of things. It also has different sort options, different folders, and you can generate a reference list from the software once you have your citations loaded in. So that's just another idea of how to get organized.

Audio: Beth: Any other ideas, Cary or Anne, about putting together the research and that kind of stuff?


Visual: Beth is no longer sharing her screen. The PowerPoint slide with the panel discussion questions is now visible.

Audio: Cary: I guess I would add one thing I’d like to add on behalf of the Writing Center about the citation management software. I am not an expert on that software. I need to do some professional development, so I'm more familiar with the tools and the student experience there, but I just wanted to add a cautionary note that, as with any automated tool—the spell checker, for instance—you want to make sure that you review your references at the end of the process, line by line you know, to make sure everything has been imported in a way that's APA compliant and it's showing up in APA rules. Occasionally, I see strange things that are clearly the artifact is entered into the software or the way the software performs. But I think it can be extremely useful.

Audio: Beth: Now, it may be time for the third question here, but: What do you do if you don't have enough sources if you're having trouble finding the research that will be useful?

Audio: Anne: Okay. Well, there are a couple of different things that you can do. Obviously, you can do citation mining both backward and forward. So if you have useful articles, that you want to find out what they’ve cited in the past, by looking in that reference list. But you can find out who has cited that article since it’s been published to find out more recent literature that's on the same topic or touches on your topic. This is also good for any time you're running into older articles that you want to find new or within the last five years. Sometimes, you have those seminal articles that are great, but they're a little bit too old. So you want to be looking at things published since that. I guess we can go to Google Scholar for a little demo of that. So, just scholar dot google dot com.


Visual: The slide disappears and Beth shares her screen to open Google Scholar as directed by Anne.

Audio: Beth: And we can—and I don't know if you have an article title to pull up.

Audio: Anne: Let me see if I've got one here. Try typing in hope as a predictor of performance of graduate-level cooperative groups.

Audio: Beth: Let's hope I spelled it correctly. That's a lot of pressure there.


Visual: Beth enters the search that Anne stated and has one result. The article title is hyperlinked. Below the title is the reference information with the start of the abstract. Below that information are hyperlinks for cited by 9, related articles, all 7 versions, cite, and save.

Audio: Anne: This is an older article, but you can look below the citation and you can click on that.


Visual: Beth clicks on the hyperlink as directed by Anne and a new result list shows. The original article title is at the top of the page, followed by a list of other references for other results that are formatted similar to the way the original article reference was formatted.

Audio: And that will take you to the articles that have been published since that that have cited that particular article that you liked. So it's a really useful tool to have that you can find, newer articles or related articles that you have already. Let's go back to the home page so I can just show you—hopefully, people have this linked to the library.


Visual: Beth opens the Google Scholar homepage.

Audio: Hopefully people have Google Scholar linked to the Walden Library. If not, we’ll just walk through it quickly here. Don't worry about keeping track of the all the steps. I can show you how to find it quickly in the future.


Visual: Beth follows the directions as Anne describes them. The Settings button is on the right side of the menu at the top of the page. It opens a new page with a sidebar menu where the library links button is located.

Audio: If you go up to Settings at the top of the page and then click on the library links to the left --


Visual: A search box opens for library access. Beth types in Walden at Anne’s direction.

Audio: Beth: See, and I don't. This is a good.

Audio: Anne: Yep. Perfect! And just type in Walden; you don't have to type in "University." And search. That will give you Walden University.


Visual: The results list shows Walden University and Open WorldCat with selection boxes next to them. Beth checks both boxes and selects save at the bottom of the screen.

Audio: You want to have both of those checked. Just go ahead and save it, and then when you type in that hope as a predictor again, hopefully it saved. And you can search it.


Visual: Beth searches for the original article again. When the result appears, the Find at Walden hyperlink appears to the right of the reference listing.

Audio: Over on the right-hand side, you've got a Find at Walden link. When you click on that, it's going to take you into the Walden Library database that has full text.


Visual: Beth clicks on the Find at Walden link and the article listing opens in the database in the Walden Library shell. Beth scrolls over the PDF full text link as Anne discusses this.

Audio: This is a great way to find things in full text. Because if you click on the title of the article, it's going to take you to the publisher's home page where they're going to ask you to pay for it. You don't want to do that when you just go into the Library and can find it in full text for free.

Audio: Beth: That was really easy.

Audio: Anne: It's already paid for. Yeah. Yeah. It is really easy. And depending on your settings, it might unlink. If you want to go back to the library home page, all you have to do is type in that—in that quick answer search box.


Visual: Beth opens the Library homepage and enters Google Scholar in the Quick Answers search box.

Audio: Type in Google Scholar in the Quick Answers search box. This is answers to frequently asked questions. How do I link Walden library to Google Scholar? It will show you step-by-step instructions. You don't have to write it down or remember it. You just can go in and find it right there. And we send people to that, the quick answers, the FAQ box a lot. It has questions not just for the Library but also the Writing Center. You can find your matrices in there. It will take you to the matrices that Cary showed you earlier. That's a quick way to get your answer. So that's—so that's one way of finding more articles if you feel like you don't have enough. The others, you can contact us to find out if you’ve looked in all the databases that would be relevant.

And as I mentioned at the beginning, you want to search all of those multidisciplinary databases to make sure that you are finding everything. Another thing that you can do is that most of the databases are set at a default to bring back only what's available in full text. And you can uncheck that full text option because a lot of things are indexed the database whether we have full access or not. And then you can look at the abstract and you can request things through our document delivery service if it’s something that we don’t have available. Because we have a great collection, but we don’t have everything, nobody does. We can request it for you and have it sent to you as a PDF file.


Visual: Beth opens the document delivery page as directed by Anne. The Document Delivery: Home page opens. It has brief instructions for requesting a full text through Document Delivery Service (DDS). On the left is a sidebar menu for document delivery. Beth scrolls down and hovers over the sign in link when Anne describes this part.

Audio: The way to find that is to go to the Services tab. And then document delivery and that will give you the—how it works and you can sign in there, over on the left. That is how we get things for you that are not available in the library. So that's another resource if you're having trouble finding something in full text.

Audio: Beth: Fantastic.

Audio: Anne: And I don't remember what the question was.

Audio: Beth: I was repeating it, but I was on mute. Any other thing before we move on to the next one?

Audio: Cary: I have nothing to add. I find it interesting to see what the library has.


Visual: Beth stops sharing her screen and the PowerPoint slide for the panel discussion questions is visible again.

Audio: Beth: Well, let's go to the opposite side. Is it possible to include too much information? So I think in that way, we can have both the Library and the Writing Center perspective on this one.

Audio: Cary: Sure. I can add something here. I do see some—occasionally some extremely long literature reviews where there is a level of detail that probably is not required. And I think that the issue that often is evident in that situation is there's an approach to the literature review that I think a lot of students are tempted to take where you're engaging in a patchwork bibliography with a lot of detailed summaries of sources rather than synthesizing and drawing out relevance to your own work.

When there is a lot of source summary, you can end up with a level of detail that doesn't serve the larger literature review. And I think in general, you want your paragraphs are-- to the extent possible, drawing together multiple ideas and sources rather than each paragraph summarizing a discrete source. That will help us avoid the pattern that we call in the Writing Center stacked summaries, which is what you generally don't want to do in the literature review.

Yeah. I mean, I think it's a focus to have information that readers are going to understand to the specific issue that you are addressing. Then it provides important background or an important counterpoint, that the relationship is clear, and that you're that you're drawing that out and bringing that forward in your discussion as well.

Audio: Beth: I wondered if you could examine that a little bit, too. I have students who will ask how much information about the particular source to include. We've talked about—including pertinent sources themselves, but are there recommendations for students about what information within the source is relevant? Do they need to include—like, what level of detail do students have to get at that point? Does that question make sense?

Audio: Cary: Yeah, I think it does. I think it's dependent on context. If you're talking about a study that was conducted that has some relationship to your research and you're wanting to give enough background to understand what that was, I think knowing what the type of study was—you know, if it was a phenomenological study for instance, and a very basic summary of methods unless the methods are particularly what you're interested in.

Say the methodology really informed your methodology then you really want to go into some detail there, but if it's not really relevant to what you're talking about and you just want to discuss someone covering a similar issue or topic—sorry. I hear some background noise. A similar issue or topic—to what you have discussed. Pardon me. (Big noise.)

Sorry, there's some coughing in the background. Let me get back on track. Then you would just bring in the material that is relevant. I will often see this sample size, a basic summary of the methodology, and a brief description of findings. You know, in any statements that are particularly interesting to the topic that you're developing in that part of the literature review, so I apologize for the distraction there. I'm sure Anne—well, does Anne have anything to add?

Audio: Anne: I guess the only thing, really, from the library perspective is you're not doing a history of your topic. For the search—in the literature review, you're going to read more literature than you're including in your literature review, but—yeah. Looking for the common threads, trying to stay on focus, and being able to sift out what you—what is relevant to your topic and what is not going to be useful to your argument.


Visual: The slide changes to show more guiding questions: How should you organize your literature review? What are some common mistakes people make putting together this section? How do I write about previously published literature and still include my own voice? How do I avoid plagiarizing other researchers? The panel discusses these questions as Beth’s direction.

Audio: Beth: Thank you so much to you both. I think at this point, why don't we switch over to our next set of questions if that works for you, too? Maybe we could talk about—let's go to this second question of common mistakes. Are there common mistakes that we haven't talked about so far that would be useful to touch on?

Audio: Cary: Well, I think in relation to what I was saying before, one of the things that we recommended in nearly all situations when talking about how to structure the literature review is that it be organized by topic or theme. And thinking about the paragraphs in the same way I think is a useful thing to do so that each paragraph is achieving a thematic or topic objective, rather, than an author summary objective. That is the most common thing I see in literature reviews that I would make some kind of comment on, especially if I was helping someone at a developmental stage.

The other thing I think I see most commonly in reading the literature reviews in various stages is material that's been inadequately paraphrased, or copy and pasted out of the original work which creates an academic integrity issue. It often creates a writing issue because when that is being done, the material is not well-synthesized with good analysis with the larger discussion and isn't related to the project at hand. So we tell people often to avoid copying and pasting even into your notes wherever possible or, if you are doing that, to make it clear to yourself because you're compiling such a large amount of information to develop the background for your literature review. Make it clear to yourself which material you have in your notes that is a direct quotation. Make sure that the paraphrasing that you're doing is adequate so that the language is really your own unless it's being presented as a direct quotation.

You know, the other piece of that is that direct quotations typically need to be kept to a minimum. In APA style and in the social science approach to writing, you don't see as much direct quotation as you might in other fields, in the humanities, for instance, you will often see a lot of direct quotation. But in these projects and in nearly all writing at Walden, direct quotation is used very sparingly. Really, it's where the original wording is extremely important or something is stated especially eloquently, but you don't want to have a huge field of block quotations or a great percentage of your text in quotation marks. And I—it looks like we may go into more detail on that in a bit. Anne, do you have anything to add?

Audio: Anne: I guess, you know, I don't—I don't know the mistakes that people make when they're putting it together. The mistakes that people make when they're searching is to get stuck in something that's too specific or to not be able to focus if they're searching too broadly.

So again, always looking for something that is grounded in the literature, that there is some discussion about, but it's not too broad. And I think one of the best ways to do that is to talk with a librarian or email us through ask a librarian to find out—just to get some brainstorming ideas of where to be searching and how to be searching and brainstorming keywords so that you're getting the right size.

Audio: Beth: And—and maybe—building off that a little bit, I'm not sure who this may go to, but I wondered—we had a couple questions about the format or guidelines for this section. I know for other sections, they're clearly outlined with headings and things like that. Is there a specific template that students should be following for researching or organizing or writing their literature review? Does that make sense?

Audio: Cary: Yeah. I think it makes sense. On the Writing Center side, the—you know, in terms of what we require, from the perspective of the Form and Style review we have it near the end of the doctoral process, we just want to see the document following all the formatting structures for the template for your program. And I don't know—if you want, I can pull those out where those are located, or perhaps we can put up a link.

Audio: Beth: Yeah. Let me grab the link for that, and I think maybe what this particular student might be getting at is there's not like a specific heading or organization that students should be following in the lit review. Right?

Audio: Cary: Typically, no. Although, some of that is going to be—some of the programs are more specific than others about the—you know, the content and the structure of the various sections or chapters of the document. And for that, you'll want to make sure you're referring to documents and handouts for your program. But I think the literature is one of the more open-ended across programs because it is going to depend on the themes that emerge naturally from your own reading of the literature.

So you know, one thing I would say is: As you're thinking about the structure, it can be helpful to make the outline in whatever you'd like to outline. Whether that’s something like a mind map or it can be something in a traditional outline form. And in doing that, often, the information takes you through a trip and helping your reader orient to the different topics that you're addressing.

Audio: Beth: And Anne, from the library's perspective, are there resources or strategies students can take in finding guidance on how to put everything together? Does that question make sense? (No response.)

Audio: Cary: Uh-oh, that was for Anne. Wasn't it?

Audio: Beth: Yeah.

Audio: Cary: I wonder if there's a technical issue.

Audio: Beth: Yeah. I don't know. Anne, can you hear us?

Audio: Anne: Can you not hear me?

Audio: Beth: There you are.

Audio: Anne: Am I back? Okay. Sorry. I was talking away without being—yeah. Without realizing nobody could hear me. Yeah, we can look at examples of published dissertations if you want to go into the library website. We can show people how to get there.


Visual: Beth shares her screen and opens the Walden Library homepage. As Anne directs her, she clicks on the Start Your Research tab at the top left and selects Dissertations from the dropdown menu. The Dissertations: Home page opens. There is a short sidebar menu with buttons for Walden dissertations, All dissertations, Learn more, Find capstone examples, and Explore research methods. Anne discusses this page.

Audio: So the search and find tab there in the upper left. The dissertations options from that dropdown. We have two databases, one is for Walden dissertations and one is for a broader community. So more than—not all dissertations in the world, but more than just Walden. We usually start with Walden dissertations. You can search by keyword here.


Visual: The first box on the page is Walden dissertations with a hyperlink for the database search. Beth clicks that hyperlink and Dissertations & Theses @ Walden University opens with the Advance Search page.

Audio: Again, you want to search more broadly because people will maybe publish lots of different articles on a topic, but people tend to only publish one dissertation. In the dropdown box on the right, you can search for your key terms in the abstract, by adviser, by department, and so this is a really good way to see what your chair adviser has overseen in the past, what else has been published in your department or from your degree program. And so that is what we usually recommend that people do. I don't know, Beth, if you have a topic you want to try.


Visual: Beth enters higher education into the search box and clicks search. When she clicks on one of the results, a dissertation opens.

Audio: Beth: That's pretty broad. Right?

Audio: Anne: We can search for that in the abstract. I encourage you to look at, you know, at least a half a dozen because it's going to vary a lot. But you can go into the full text of the PDF. Each one is loaded as a PDF, look through the table of contents, find the literature review, take a look at how it's written, take a look at how long it is. Some literature reviews are 20 pages long, some are 80. That gives you an idea of the range. My favorite answer to these questions about how to organize and how many resources should I have and how do I know I reached the end, is it depends. It always depends on your topic. But looking at the published dissertations, I think, really helps.

Audio: Beth: It’s probably important to note when you’re looking at these published dissertations, if the headings look different than what you're asked to do, keep in mind in APA editions are different and potentially there's differences between when this student published and when you’re publishing, too.

Audio: Anne: Yeah. It's more to get a feel for what it looks like rather than the nuts and bolts of the formatting.

Audio: Beth: That's a great way to put it. Yeah. Definitely. All right. Let's see. Is there anything else related to—I don't know.


Visual: Beth stops sharing her screen and the second slide with the panel discussion questions are shown.

Audio: Let's look at our questions. We'll bring those back up. Anything else that caught your eye from these questions that you thought would be useful to talk about? We have pretty close to ten minutes left, and I want to make sure we can get to everything.

Audio: Cary: Well, I see some --

Audio: Beth: Anything else?

Audio: Cary: Sure. The last two questions relate to making sure that your own voice comes across as you're talking about all this literature by other people. And then avoiding plagiarism, which I touched on earlier. I know one piece of advice you may have heard before is to make sure that, if you're talking about, you know, the points that are being made, you know, in an article, you know, make sure you've read and internalized it. You should not be looking at the text as you're doing your own phrases or explanations because by internalizing it enough, you're more likely to be integrating that information with the other literature and the work, as well as your own original language.

I think when you have it open next to you, you know, you're looking at the quote and then trying to, you know, just rearrange the wording or something like that. You can end up with a sentence that has words swapped out which is insufficient paraphrasing. If you even swapped out words, that can be a light form of plagiarism. By not having the work in front of you while writing out the essence of what you're trying to explain as being relevant in that work in your own writing, you're going to have a better outcome.

Audio: Beth: No. No, go ahead.

Audio: Cary: You can always go back, you know, if you're concerned about the similarity of your own phrasing with the original. You can go back and compare, you know, after you've written to make sure that there's not too much match. There's going to be certain phrases that are unique—you know, are unique to a particular piece of writing or, you know, terms that are—you know, words that tend to occur together in a particular field.

Typically, you don't need to be concerned about bringing—you know, like a two- or three-word phrase into your own work. That typically is not an academic integrity issue. But taking a complex sentence and making a few substitutions so it has the original format does present an issue, and that's something I think that I see commonly because it can be a real challenge to talk about other people's work and to provide an accurate summary without, you know, relying on their phrasing and sentence structure. So --

Audio: Beth: Thank you.

Audio: Cary: I see questions coming up, but I don't know if there's anything we can address.

Audio: Beth: I will take a look at those, but I wondered, Anne: Is there anything else you wanted to talk about in this session that we haven't gotten to yet?

Audio: Anne: I can't think of anything, no. I was trying to look at the questions to see if there was anything I should add.

Audio: Beth: Can I—can I ask a question then?

Audio: Anne: Absolutely.

Audio: Beth: Talk about the term "saturation" and when students know they're done with the research process.

Audio: Anne: Right. Again, my favorite answer: It depends. When you—when you are going through the literature searches and you've found great locations for searching your particular topic, the best databases, when you've found a really good search string, the right vocabulary to pinpoint the literature that's on and surrounding your topic, and you revisit those to see if anything new comes in, rerun the searches, look for additional vocabulary. If you keep getting the same thing back, chances are, you've reached saturation.

That's keeping in mind you've looked through broadly to start and you've been focusing in on your specific topic and you are looking in the databases that cover your subject as well as the multidisciplinary databases to cover all the different areas. That's really how you know, when you keep getting the same thing back as you're—you've pretty much reached saturation at that point. You just want to find, you know, what's being published as you're writing so that—so that you're not missing any of the latest.

Audio: Beth: Yeah. Yep. That makes perfect sense. I think then—maybe at this point, we've got about five minutes left, I'm going to switch and talk to our resources that are useful for doctoral students in general. And then we can return back and see if there's any last questions or last thoughts. Does that sound okay to you both?

Audio: Anne: That sounds good.

Audio: Beth: Okay. All right.


Visual: The next slide shows the resources for the doctoral capstone students. There is a hyperlink on the left for the Doctoral Capstone Resources Website and another for Literature Review Basics. The right side of the slide shows a partial screenshot of the Doctoral Capstone Resources Website. Beth discusses these resources.

Audio: So at the beginning, we mentioned lots of resources for help with the literature review, but it's only one part of your capstone. There's other parts of your study as well, and the student page is a great place for research for your study. It brings together information from the writing center and from the library and all the different support services in one place. There's also specific information for you depending on your degree. The different degrees are listed.

You'll note that there's buttons that talk about where you are in the process. So whether you're getting started, writing your proposal, and so on, I encourage you to take a look and bookmark that page. It brings together all of this information, so I encourage you to take a look at this if you haven't already.

Visual: The next slide “Walden Capstone Writing Community” opens. It has a screenshot of the homepage for the Writing Community along with three bullet points about it: Virtual writing community exclusively for doctoral capstone students who have reached the proposal stage. Students connect with Writing Center editors and colleagues for writing support. Find out more, including how to join! The last point is hyperlinked. Beth discusses this community.

Audio: Then one other thing we want to note from the Writing Center is we have the Capstone Writing Community. This is a virtual community for doctoral students writing their proposal. In that case, know that this is out there and ready for you when you hit the proposal. Once you start writing the proposal, you have to fill out a form to request access. It's for students and then the editors who man the community. It's a great way to go for writing your capstone, this whole process. The goal is to create a community with other students and also get in touch with the editors as well who are a part of this. So I encourage you to take a look at this or keep us in mind if you're not there yet.


Visual: The next slide “Questions:” opens. It shows the email address for the editors and library and a hyperlink for the doctoral capstone webinar series in the Writing Center. At the bottom is a textbox with information on another related webinar being aired next month: Writing Process for Longer Research Projects

Audio: So at the end here, we were going to answer any questions. I'm going to look at the Q & A box. As I do that, I wanted to emphasize that if you have more questions afterwards or you'd like more information, be sure to email us for the Writing Center and the Library. I'm trying to see, a couple of questions about links that we've talked about here. I encourage you to download the files that we have, the slides, which give you access to all of those. I don't know. I see—do any of you see questions for us to address aloud?

Audio: Cary: I saw one earlier that was of general interest, so I can address that briefly. Someone was asking to verb tense, and that's a question I get a lot, you know, as an editor. In general, there's a rule that you may have heard and it's: When you're talking about statements from the literature, findings reported in the literature, studies in the literature, that you use the past tense in most of those situations. You know, "Smith wrote" instead of "Smith writes." The study indicated or findings were, that sort of thing.

But there are situations where you may be, say, talking about the foundation of your study, you know, or some general principle that still applies as ongoing reality. And in those situations, you would use present tense. So, you know, like constructivist theory indicates instead of indicated because, you know, the theory still exists, the concept can be expressed in the present tense. That can be, I think, a subtle distinction to make, but I wanted to bring that point across. Generally, you are using past tense, but there are situations where it makes sense to use the present and that is totally allowable in APA style. In fact, when I'm going through as an editor, I will make comments so that those principles are applied.

Audio: Beth: Great. Thank you so much. Were there any last thoughts or last questions?

Audio: Anne: I notice somebody had asked about getting notifications of new things coming into the databases, and there is a way to do that. Setting up alerts from the databases, you can contact us and we can show you how to do it. You don't want to do it until you have a good search string put together but we’re happy to help you set that up.

Audio: Beth: Well, I would emphasize that, if you didn't get a question answered, reach out to us. We're here to help. Thank you, everyone, for coming to the webinar. We hope to hear from you. You have the email addresses. We hope to see you at another webinar next month or even this month. Thank you to all of our panelists. I appreciate your time, and thank you, everyone. We'll go ahead and end for the day. Have a great day.