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Writing a Literature Review

Where do I start? A guide to writing a literature review.

Note Taking Tips!

At this point in the process, you have committed to a topic, found resources on it, and now are trying to glean information from those sources. The page linked above provides some note taking tips, ways to avoid plagiarism, and 5 different note taking styles (also described below). Pick the style that works best for you.

  • The Cornell Method
  • The Outline Method
  • The Mapping Method
  • The Charting Method
  • The Sentence Method

The Cornell Method

The Cornell Method uses a two-column approach to note taking.

  • The first column measures about 2.5 inches.
  • The second column (the larger of the two) measures about 6 inches.
  • The larger column is the space to take your notes in.
  • The smaller column is to be used to create cue words or keywords that describe the information they are taking notes about.
  • At the very bottom of the sheet is a two-inch wide space used to summarize in one or two sentences the main concept or idea taken from the resource.

Cornell Notes - wikipedia

The Outline Method

The Outline Method is a very structed way of note-taking.

  • The left side of the sheet contains general ideas.
  • As you work your way to the right, the information grows increasely more detailed.
  • The relationship between ideas and information is carried out through the indentation.

The Mapping Method

The Mapping Method is a very visual way of organizing your notes and information.

  • It makes use of graphical representation of information content.
  • It involves writing down the concept or terms and radiating the related ideas out of the center.
  • You can use lines and symbols to build and link the related ideas.
  • It can also be used as a way of brainstorming.

The Charting Method

The Charting Method utilizes a chart-structure as a way of organizing your notes.

  • Determine the points/topics/subjects that you are trying to find information about.
  • Set up your paper in advance by columns headed by these points/topics/subjects.
  • As you read through a source (a book, article, website, etc.), record information (words, phrases, main ideas, etc.) under the the appropriate column.

The Sentence Method

The Sentence Method is the most basic notes-taking method.

  • As you research, write down any new ideas or bits of information as a sentence.
  • Number each sentence as you move down the page.