About This Short Course

Continuing studies students at work in the classroom
Continuing Studies students at work in the classroom. By Flickr user Simon Fraser University  â€“ Communications & Marketing Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-ND 2.0

The Purpose of This Course

This short course is on the research component of conducting a literature or systematic review.

The purpose is to spark your intellectual curiosity and develop your research skills. Research is an important part of your review and your work will add to the scholarly discourse of your topic. This self-guided course will help you outline your goals for your review and demonstrate how adopting a mind-set of persistence, adaptability, and flexibility will help you achieve them.

Throughout the course, we provide examples and activities designed to help you develop your essential research skills. In Module 1, we provide a quick overview of the different types of academic reviews and the steps involved in conducting them. In Module 2, we demonstrate how to formulate your research question and how to search for sources. In Module 3, you will learn how to select and organize your sources. Finally, in Module 4, we outline techniques for reading and assessing the quality of your sources.

What You Need

  • An estimated 20 minutes per module (depending on how many of the links to resources you explore, you may take more time)
  • Access to a computer and the Internet
  • Access to your institution’s library website
  • Access to your own notebook or MS Word/Google Doc to take notes

How to Navigate the Modules

We have designed this short course to be done at your own pace and at your own point of need. Therefore, you can navigate to the parts you find relevant to your current situation.

This version of the course is hosted in Pressbooks (a WordPress-based online platform). Pressbooks is used to host open textbooks and, in this case, a short course. Please see the video below on how to navigate Pressbooks.

Iowa State University Digital Press. Navigating Your Course Pressbook. Licenced under Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0.

Research Roadmap Workbook

The workbook is designed to help you reflect and document your research process. Throughout this short course, you will have the opportunity to use the workbook to document aspects of your review. You can refer back to this workbook during the research phase of your review.

How to Use the Workbook

The link below will create a personal copy of the workbook. This workbook is a Google Document and by clicking on the link, a copy of the workbook will save to your Google Drive. This is your personal copy of the Workbook for your own records that you can return to whenever you are prompted to do a workbook activity throughout this short course.

Advanced Research Skills: Conducting Literature and Systematic Reviews Workbook

Learning Outcomes

Below are the learning outcomes for the overall course. Each module will include a list of objectives/outcomes specific to that module to guide you through your learning.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Understand the specific characteristics of your chosen review and describe the steps involved in conducting a successful review.
  2. Determine your research question and design and refine your own search strategy.
  3. Choose appropriate resources to search and recognize other serendipitous methods of information gathering.
  4. Develop a plan to organize your sources.
  5. Screen your search results and pick relevant sources for your review.
  6. Recognize how to avoid plagiarism and demonstrate the rules of your chosen citation style.
  7. Evaluate the relevance of a source to your own context.

What This Course Does Not Cover

This course concentrates on the research component of conducting a review. We do not cover how to write a review. Also, we will not cover how to extract and analyze data.

In our last section, Resources to Keep you Going, we provide resources that you can consult if you need information on these topics.




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Advanced Research Skills: Conducting Literature and Systematic Reviews Copyright © 2021 by Kelly Dermody; Cecile Farnum; Daniel Jakubek; Jo-Anne Petropoulos; Jane Schmidt; and Reece Steinberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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