Video Link: https://youtu.be/gpF_mJopgcY
>> MEGHAN TESTERMAN: Hello everyone and welcome to today's webinar on Exhausting the Literature. My name is Meghan Testerman, and I am one of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences librarians here at Walden.
Today I am going to be walking you through the process of making sure you have a very comprehensive literature review. Before we get started today, I want you to be sure of a few things. We do have captioning available for today's presentation. There is a link in the chat box that will take you to another browser that will have the captioning for today. But if you're joining us and watching this as a recording, we also have transcript available for all of our presentations. So if you need a transcript, just send us an email at Ask a Librarian and will get that to you straightaway.
I also have a copy of the slides for today's presentation available to use in the handouts section of GoToWebinar. If you are watching this as a recording, you can find the slides right underneath the link to the recording in our webinar archive.
I am also going to walk you through a checklist today that has a guide that goes along with it. So I will share that link for you in the chat box as we get to that point.
Welcome. I am going to go through the presentation first, what I am going to do is, I am going to check for questions afterwards. So if you have a question as we go through the presentation, go ahead and type it in to the questions box and then after the presentation, I'll have a look and see if maybe there is anything we can talk about as a group.
So today, we really just have three agenda items. We are going to take about 20 or 30 minutes and what we are going to talk about is, first of all, what it means to "exhaust the literature," and to have a comprehensive literature review.
Then I'm going to take you over to our self-evaluation checklist. Now, this gives you a toolkit for making sure you have looked all the places you need to look and you have used all the strategies you need to use to find all of that literature on your topic. And we are going to go through that checklist together today.
I am going to finish up today by showing you where you can go to get more help with your library research or any kind questions you might have about library research for your dissertation or coursework or anything along the way.
So the first question we are going to ask ourselves today is what does it mean to "exhaust the literature?" We hear this phrase a lot.
Well, to exhaust the literature really means that you need to have a comprehensive literature review. A lot of times you will hear those two phrases used interchangeably. A comprehensive literature review is one that provides a complete picture of the current research on your topic and also provides that justification for why your research should be done.
So, to exhaust the literature means that you have explored all the literature that is related to your topic.
Now, that doesn't mean that all the literature related to your topic needs to get in to your literature review. You do have some control over what you choose to put in literature review and what you choose to leave out. And the literature you choose to include in your literature review needs to be representative of the most current research on your topic.
So, a comprehensive literature review is going to look like this. It is going to have a wide variety of sources. It is going to be representative of the current state of research on your topic. It's going to include the latest information and the latest research. And that includes all the way up until the time of publication.
So we're going to talk a little bit about that today too, how you can stay current with the literature as you are moving through data collection and data analysis and writing up your dissertation.
So let's turn our attention over to the big checklist. Again, this is our big toolkit. I did say there's a link for this. I am going to put the link into the chat box so you can follow along and you have it and you can go ahead and bookmark it.
Let's go back over here to our PowerPoint. So, the checklist is, again, a way to make sure that you have covered all your bases and you have used every strategy you need to use to find all the available literature on your topic.
So, when students ask me, "How do I know when I'm done? How do I know when I have exhausted the literature?" The short answer is, if you have looked in a variety of places and you have used a variety of strategies and keywords and you are still finding the same authors and the same articles, then you can be pretty confident that you are pretty close to exhausting the literature. That is the short answer.
This is the long answer, and we are going to go through almost all of these today and explore each one so that you can feel confident when you leave here that you have a roadmap for what you still need to do.
So, the first thing we are going to talk about is databases. Our first two questions is, have you searched in databases in your subject area and have you searched in databases that are related to your subject area?
Let's go back to our library homepage so I can show you how you might go about doing that. This is our new library homepage. If you haven't been here in a while, we just recently updated everything. If you are looking for databases on your subject area, one of the best places to go would be to your subject area resource home. You can find those Subject Resources area homes right here under Subject Resources.
Let's say you are a psychology student. You may want to have a look at the psychology research and explore some of the databases listed here under psychology databases. The ones that say Best Bet might be really good places to start. If you are a psychology student you might want to start with PsychINFO and SocINDEX. These are really big and databases that have a lot of information. All of the databases have kind of a blurb under them that will give you more information on the content of that database and you can decide for yourself if that is going to be useful to you or not.
Let's say that you are a psychology student who is exploring substance abuse among teenagers. Now, if we are looking at that topic and we are thinking about what subject areas that might hit, surely, psychology, if you're a psychology student and this is your topic, you might want to go look at the Psychology databases.
But if you are looking at substance abuse, well, substance abuse is something often talked about in our Health Sciences database. You might want to hop over here. And if we are looking at high school students, we might want to have a look at the Education databases.
Now, all of these Subject Research information homes are set up in a similar manner. We have databases at the top as well as some other resources to help you find information on your topic, such as journals, books. There's even some research guides below to help you navigate all of these library resources.
So that's the answer to our first question, look at subject specific databases and then look at related databases.
Have you used a variety of keywords and subject terms?
So, I think most of you by this point are familiar with what a keyword search might look like.
Let's go into PsychINFO. If you are at all in the social sciences, you will probably be at PsychINFO at one point or another and this might be a good little brief demonstration as to subjects and keywords.
I am sure at this point you are familiar with a keyword search. This is where we have a topic and we plug in our keywords that we have just brainstormed.. We have put it in to the subject search fields to the database search fields and then we hit Search and we see what it brings.
So let's actually follow that through. First I'm going to uncheck the full text box then am going to check the peer-reviewed scholarly journals box. This uncheck the full text box makes sure I can see everything available on this topic, not just what is available at Walden. And then checking the peer-reviewed scholarly journals box is making sure we are only bringing back articles that are peer-reviewed, that is the best kind of articles to have.
Now we can click search and see what the database brings back. More often than not when you do a keyword search you're going to have a really big number, a very large number of results. That is okay. But you're going to get to a point in library research where you are really going to need to filter that down, and you only want to see articles that have been really classified as being about drug use in high school students.
So right now the database is looking for any articles that literally have these five words present. That that doesn't mean these two phrases need to be connected in any way or related to each other. It doesn't even be that is what the content of the article is about. It's just simply that these five words are present.
So, we can actually tell the database no, actually what we want is we only want articles that have been classified as being about drug use and high school students. That is the topic I am interested in and I'm only interested in those articles. To do that, what we do is we translate this keyword search into a Subject Search.
So what are subject terms? Subject terms is the language that the database uses to talk about these topics.
So I just typed in drug use because it was the first thing that came to mind. But I could just as easily typed in substance abuse or drug abuse or substance use or addiction. There's any number of ways to talk about this one phenomenon.
What I am going to do is I am going to ask the database what is the preferred term that I should be using for my search? To do that, I am going to look at the subject terms in the Thesaurus.
Now, every database has some sort of Thesaurus or Index that will allow you to search for the correct subject term that you are looking for.
So let's go into the Thesaurus and I'm going to type in here "drug use." Before I click Browse I going to click Relevancy Ranked, which means it is going to bring me back a good cluster of subject terms that are related to drug use, it is going to allow me to kind of browse through here and see if I can find one that fits what I am looking for. What I see here on the bottom of the list is drug usage and I think okay, that might be a really good subject term for me to use in my search. So I am going to go back and create a new search and I'll type in drug usage, my subject term.
Now there's a very important second step to this process of using subject terms, and that is to select from the drop-down field SU Subjects. This is giving a very specific message to the database. It's telling the database not only do I just want drug usage, these two words need to be present in the article, but I want the article to be classified as being about drug usage. The subject of the article is drug usage. So I went ahead and did this earlier for high school students and high school students actually is the correct subject term, so that is great.
Let's go ahead and uncheck our full text box and check the peer-reviewed scholarly journals box and click Search. Let's see what that did to our results. I think before we had about 1200. Now we have 600. That has taken our results and cut them in half. And you might be thinking well, that's a lot less articles to choose from. But these 604 articles are going to be articles that are on-topic and more relevant to what you are searching for.
The next thing on your checklist is, have you unchecked the full text box? So when we were in PsychINFO and we were doing our search, you might've noticed that the full text box is automatically checked by default anytime you come in to a database -- and this is true of a lot of the databases that we have at the Walden Library. So I want you to get in the habit of, when you're doing research for your literature review or for your dissertation, to make sure that you unchecked that full text box.
I talked earlier about why this is important in that it is going to cast a wider net. It is going to bring you back resources that are available outside of the library in full text, just what we have in the library.
But there's another reason for this, which is digital embargoes. A lot of publishers have what is called a digital embargo which is on the past 12 months' worth of new articles that have come out. What they will do is they will put that article out in print, in a print journal, but they won't release the PDF or the HTML of the article until after the 6 or 12 month embargo is up.
So a lot of times what this means is, because Walden does not have stacks and we do not have the physical copy of a journal, we are particularly hard-hit by publishers embargoes. So if you were to check that full text box, you might not see the most recent 6 to 12 months of research. So you can imagine what kind of impact that would have when you only have five years to work with. So it really is critical that you uncheck that full text box so that you can see absolutely everything that is out there on this topic.
Here is the next question which is, well that what happens if you find an article that's under digital embargo and we can't get a copy of the full text?
Well, you can use our Document Delivery Service to request that article from another one of our partner institutions. So, Document Delivery Service is available on the library homepage under Services and Documents Delivery.
Now, no one library has everything. So at some point when you are doing dissertation research, it is highly probable that when you are doing dissertation research, you will have to use Document Delivery. It's a very simple process. You click DDS, that is simply a form, you fill out a form that has some contact information and also the citation information for the article you are looking for and then you click Submit. That request will go over to our Collections Librarian. What she will do is she will double check to make sure that article isn't hiding somewhere. Then she is going to put a request to our partner institutions. If they don't have a copy of it, then on some occasions, we will actually purchase the article on behalf of the students if it's under a certain price point.
The process takes about 7 to 10 days. So when you submit a request to Document Delivery Service, you should expect to see an email out about 7 to 10 days that will go either, here's the PDF of the article you requested or, unfortunately, we weren't able to get that for you. We will usually give you a couple options for exploring local libraries to try to find the article that you're looking for.
There is a limit to Document Delivery Service. There is a limit of 30 articles per lifetime per user. But it is really rare that students meet that limit. If you start to get close, your Liaison Librarian is probably going to reach out to you and make an appointment with you to sit down and talk about your research strategies and the kind of information you are collecting and hopefully, we can help you get the information you are looking for.
Have you searched Google Scholar?
Now, Google Scholar, I know, is a really favorite tool of students. But there are some things you need to be aware of when you are searching Google Scholar.
So, Google Scholar is a search tool that can help you find articles. Now there are things that Google Scholar is really good at and there are things Google Scholar is not so great at. One of the things that Google Scholar is not so great at is that if you were to search for a topic, let's say elder abuse, and you find an article that looks really interesting, there is no peer review limiter in Google Scholar, which means that you are going to have to independently verify that any articles that you find in Google Scholar are, in fact, peer-reviewed.
What Google Scholar can do really well, though, is that you can use Google Scholar to search for an article and see if there are any other full text options available freely on the web. So, for example, from the NIH or from another research institution.
You can also use Google Scholar to do something called citation chaining. Citation chaining is a way to take an article that you already have and use it as bait to lead you to more current research on your topic.
So let's say, for example, that we are interested in this article here. We see that it is from 1993, so it is way outside of the five-year limit. But there are some really interesting research going on in this article. Maybe we want to see if anyone has followed up with that research since the publication of this article.
What we can do is, we can click the cited by link and that is going to show us all of the articles and books that have cited this original article since its original publication in 1993. So if you can imagine, that is actually taking us forward in time on this research trajectory of this topic of elder abuse. So that is a great way to fast forward into the future to see if any new research has been done.
This might be a great time to introduce a date range. So we can put custom range, maybe 2010 to 2018 just to bring it in little more up to date so we can see the most recent research that has happened on this topic.
Have you searched the top journals in your field?
Journals can be found, also, on the library homepage. Let's take a new tab. Okay. So journals can be found here under the Journals tab. And we do have a way that you can browse for journals by topic and by subject.
So if you want, you can have a look and make sure you're really seeing all the journals that are out there in your field. For example, we could pull up Psychology and we can have a look and we can start to narrow them down a little bit more, so we are doing school psychology, we could narrow that down by psychology and education. It might be nice just to be able to browse through these listings and see if there is one that might be interesting, especially if you are still exploring your topic. Those are available to you.
And then, let's go back over to here. Let's go to our [indiscernible] checklist.
Have you created an Alert? And the next one you will see is how to use citation chaining. Citation chaining we did in Google Scholar, and I am also going to show you how to do an Alert in Google Scholar. So let's hop back over to our Google Scholar window.
In the beginning, I said a comprehensive literature review is one that stays up-to-date with the literature all the way up to the time of publication of your dissertation. So when you're doing that, it's likely that what you are going to do in the overall process of the dissertation is that early on, you were going to spend a lot of time working with the literature and during the literature review in the early premise and proposal stages. But then you are going to eventually move on to doing data collection and data analysis and writing up your findings. And during that time, you still need to be aware of the literature, but it can be really time-consuming to be always repeating the searches that you have already done. So there's a way to keep yourself up-to-date without having to go through all that searching over again, and that is to set up an Alert to keep you up to date.
So there's two ways we can do an Alert. We can do an Alert in Google Scholar and we can do another in the databases. Since I'm in Google Scholar, let me show you how that works first. The search I have done in Google Scholar is not we were looking for all of the articles and books that have cited this article since its publication. So let's say that we want to be notified anytime an article is published that cites our original article. We can actually use this Create an Alert button. So it's very simple, we just type in our email address and click Create an Alert. And this is an example of what Google will send to you anytime something new is published. That will help you keep up-to-date with the most current research.
Let's say that we are back in one of the databases and, we are searching for our topic. Let's do high school. Let's say we are looking at drug use among high school students, let's actually do high school athletes, because that's a pretty narrow topic. Again, I'm going to uncheck the full text box, check the peer-reviewed scholarly journals box and click Search.
So, we have 195 articles. When you set up an alert to be notified of new articles that have been published that meet your search criteria, I would honestly recommend that you wait to set up the search alert until the number of search results is much smaller than 195 -- like maybe around a dozen or 20. That might be a good range to set up an Alert. Let's narrow this down a little bit. Let's do marijuana use among high school student athletes And see how this narrows our search down from 195. So now we have 19.
When we set up this Alert, we are telling the database, please let me know, please notify me, anytime a new article is published that meets this exact search criteria. And that means the keywords, that means anything you might have chosen in these fields. It also means anything you might have selected over here in the left-hand column under refined results. So if you want to limit the publication date, you can. If you want to choose a particular database or choose a subject, then what you select over here is going to be maintained when you set up to Alert. So make sure the search that you set up an Alert for is one that has a very focused search and one that is giving you really excellent results and one that is set up exactly how you want it to be. When we are ready to set our Alert, we can click the Share button and then click in Alert. Again, it is very similar to the Google Scholar alert. It is going to EBSCO, which is the vendor for these databases. It is going to ask you to create a login for ebscohost in which you will give ebscohost your email and then anytime something new is published that fits the search criteria, you will be notified via email.
Let's see how we're doing with our list. Okay, we have done citation chaining.
Okay, have you looked at non-peer-reviewed sources such as dissertations, reports, government documents and conference papers?
So, an easy way to do that would be to simply uncheck the peer-reviewed scholarly journals box over here in the left-hand column whenever you are doing a particular search in any of the databases that have non-peer-reviewed resources.
And you will see that what we are getting things that are non-peer-reviewed scholarly journals. We might get some reports, we might see some dissertations. Here's a book. Here is a periodical. Let's see if we can find a dissertation. Looks like we don't have any dissertations for this one.
But I do want to point out dissertations in particular, because dissertations can be real treasure trove of information. So what I would recommend to you as you're working through this process is to have a look at other dissertations that are either related to your subject area or use a similar methodology or have been published at Walden in your degree program. And you can do all of that by clicking the Dissertations button on the library homepage.
This is going to take you to our two databases that house dissertations. We have one that is set up to search only dissertations and theses that have been done at Walden. Then we have ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global which will search all dissertations, everywhere. Both of them can be super useful. It's really nice to be able to go into the Search for Dissertations at Walden so that you can get an idea of what the format looks like, what the template looks like in action, see how the dissertations are actually looking in their complete, final form.
And you can do a lot of other interesting things with the dissertations that you find. You can have a look at the table of contents. Just by glancing at the table of contents, you can get an idea of how long the literature review is. You can have a look at the references and see how many resources they included in their dissertation. You can have an idea of how they organize their literature review. Do they do it by theme? Do they do it by theory? We can get a lot of really great, great information from these. So you can have a look at topic and if you're looking for a dissertation by topic, I would recommend that you look in the Abstract, because if it is significant enough to be in the Abstract, that usually means that is what the dissertation is about. You can also have a look at Degree and we have some Quick Answers that will help you find your dissertation by degree.
You can also look up your Chair to see what kind of dissertations your Chair has advised in the past. To do that, the fastest way is you scroll down, so we are on Dissertations and Theses at Walden University, scroll down to the Advisor block and click Lookup Advisors, but then you can look through and look up your advisor. But if there happens to be no dissertations in ProQuest from your advisor, it doesn't mean they don't have them. It just means that they haven't been registered with ProQuest. It is optional, students have the choice of putting their dissertation on ProQuest or not, and some do choose to opt out. So if that is the case, you might want to just ask your advisor, ask your Chair if they have a dissertation they have chaired in the past to get an idea of the quality of work they are looking for. Or you can use the Lookup Advisors button.
We are getting really close to the bottom of our list. We have talked about keywords and we have talked about citation chaining. So the last thing you can do at this point, you can see how we have looked at a lot of different places, we have looked in databases, we have looked in Google Scholar, we have looked at journals. We have used a lot of different methods. We have done keyword searches, subject terms searches, citation chaining, we have looked at things that are kind of outside of the bubble such as things that we don't have in full text at the library. And we have talked about how to get those from our partner institutions. We have looked at non-peer-reviewed resources and dissertations. So now we are starting to get a pretty complete kind of view of what might be out there, research that is related to your topic.
One of the last things you can consider is to consult with your colleagues in the field. So, your chair, committee, faculty, other researchers. If you are at residency and you happen to see that someone else is working on a similar topic, why don't you guys get together and compare your references and see if there's not something that perhaps you might have missed?
So I want to finish up today by talking about where you can go to get more help with your library research. I'm going to show you Ask a Librarian, Quick Answers and then how to make a research appointment with your subject liaison.
So let's go back over to the library homepage. And the first thing I'm going to show you is actually Quick Answers. Do you remember how I said if you find an article on Google Scholar that there is no way to limit to peer review, and you are going to have to independently verify that that article comes from a peer-reviewed journal. I am sure you might've been wondering at that point, well, how do I go about doing that?
If you have a question that is related to library research like that and you need just a quick answer, one of the things you can do is you can type in to our main search box and click…a really great job of making a really robust… Quick Answers will answer just about any question you might have about library research. Our Quick Answers is honestly so good that if there is something I don't know about, perhaps, like management research or something about the hook and anchor, I can go here to Quick Answers and get an answer right away. I have used it many times myself. So I highly recommend that you think of it as your first place that you go to get help.
So we were talking about how do you verify your article is peer-reviewed? Well, we have a great Quick Answer for that. All of the Quick Answers are set up kind of the same way. We have a nice introductory blurb that we will walk you step-by-step through the process of how to do that thing. Sometimes we even have nice, super short videos that will show you exactly how to do that.
If you try Quick Answers and you are still stumped, you are still not sure where to do, why don't you reach out to us at Ask a Librarian and either send us an email or reach out via chat, give us a call, leave a voicemail. Let us know what you are struggling with and we will try to get back to you within 24 hours -- and often times it's a lot quicker than that. So please feel free to reach out if you really are stumped.
You also have the option as doctoral students to make a doctoral research appointment with one of our subject area liaisons. Let's say, for example, you are in education. You can select the College of Education. And then, you have our librarian Kim, she is fabulous. She can have a look at her calendar and see what appointment availability she might have coming up.
If for some reason, the liaisons are already booked up, you can always make an appointment with a Doctoral Research Librarian. This is just kind of a backup in case we get really full. We always release availability for the following month the last week of the month. If it's getting close to the end of the month, we might be booked up, but don't despair. Just come back in a week and check or make a research appointment with one of our Doctoral Research Librarians. The way we can meet with you is we can do an email, we can do a Skype videoconference or we can call you on the phone. Those half-hour consultations where we will talk to you about where you are getting stuck, what are some of the strategies you have tried and we will try to give you some strategies for moving forward.
I think that just about wraps up what I wanted to show you today. In case you are joining us late, I am going to copy the link to the checklist so that everybody has this. I am going to put it in the chat window so you can go ahead and bookmark that. Then I will see if there were any questions today.
Okay, that looks, it looks like there are no questions for today. Not a problem. If you do think of a question later, please feel free to reach out to us at Ask a Librarian or through Search Everything and look at our Quick Answers, or make an appointment with us. We are more than happy to talk to you about your research and get you the help that you need.
So I want to wish you all good luck, best of luck with your research. Good luck with your literature review and the rest of your dissertation process. Please reach out if you need more assistance. We are always ready to help.
Have a good day, and thank you so much for joining me.
Created June 2018 by Walden University Library