Review of Research Literature

Lecture by Dr. C. B. Bhatt, VGEC, Chandkheda, A-2, GTU, Chandkheda (26/11/2016 – time: 11.20 am – 01.15 pm)

Text below is  from taken notes from the lecture beginning with an outline:

  • Research process;
  • Literature search;
    • Purpose and use;
  • Locating relevant information;
    • Citation index services;
    • Search engine;
  • Bibliography management.
  • Refer to a book by “Kothari” for RM during the course

Literature search – (Literature review) is not a one-time process, it is iterative

  • Identify topic of interest
  • Generate related questions
  • State unsolved problems
  • Find or develop a solution


  • Preparation of research proposal at first step;
  • Once the activities are started, the research papers/ progress reports (periodical) are to be produced;
  • Prior to the end of a research work, submission of a synopsis (draft final report)
  • The last step will be the submission of the thesis / final report
    • One need to make sure of quality at each of the stage
    • Follow a systematic approach

Purpose of a literature search

  • A literature search serves three important functions
    • It provides an information over the background;
    • It demonstrates the familiarities within the research in a specific field;
    • It also demonstrates that the work of an individual to the body of knowledge in a specific field;
      • A research needs to be unique

Review report

  • It demonstrates
    • What others have accomplished in a field and how work of an individual differs from others;
    • One demonstrates one’s understanding of the relevant works of others and your abilities to summarize the available information for the convenience of a specific interested reader;
    • One should be able to criticize a paper, summarize the findings.

Finding sources

  • Sources of literature are: the library and internet sources
  • Sources are described as:
    • Primary: these are the “material of that one is directly writing about, the raw material of one’s own research”
    • Secondary: books and articles in which other researchers report the results of their research based on their primary data or sources
    • Tertiary: these are “books and articles based on secondary sources, on the research of others”
  • The first step is to start with tertiary sources to start a research work
    • Dictionaries and encyclopedia
    • Handbooks and guides
    • Above can provide a general background information to help narrow or broaden the focus of a topic, define
  • Problems for novice researcher
    • Where are resources?
    • Where am I?
    • What is useful?

 Systematic approach for literature search

  • Prepare a search plan
    • How the topic progress through the research documentation lifecycles?
      • There are two approaches:
        • Look for books that are currently accepted reference texts in the research area and find out who has cited them in recent years
        • Look for original (seminal) reports, papers or these written by known experts and see who has cited them in recent years
      • For these two approaches, citation index becomes a very important source
    • Citation index is a kind of bibliographic database, an index of citation between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which later documents cite which earlier documents (GTU promotes SCI index journal publications)
    • (Association for Computing Machine)
    • Thompson Scientific publishes ISI citation index in print “wen of science” as a part of “web of knowledge”
    • Elsevier publishes Scopus indexed
    • Universally available free citation tools
    • For citation, one need search through a large database and later, narrow down the most useful research papers/ references
    • Understanding of symbols on a publisher website can help in reducing efforts in identifying and obtaining useful research paper/ documented efforts (by screening time bound results on a search engine)
    • Establish the level of current area of interest by looking at the research ongoing/ done in the recent past
    • Download the papers as well as citations
    • Citation of a paper in terms of “usage” is reflected in a form of a matrix – year/month wise
      • References of a paper also can act as a Citation file
    • After locating and reading at least the abstract of the papers,
      • Categorize the available papers by topic and authors’ technical interest in a topic (most of the work is interdisciplinary)
      • Further look in to the reference list for new papers (as not all citation search provides similar results)
      • A precise classification of obtained research papers is essential for identifying most specific one
    • There are two possibility one may have:
      • Have too few information
        • (narrow topic, look for a new topic heading or terms any newly found used for information cataloging – search for that term in database – metadata search – identify keywords attached to a paper)
        • In search still it yields little information, get help from library personnel or expert in the field of research – approach the expert to identify right term used for cataloging the search
      • Have too many information (broad topic needs to be narrowed)
        • Plan to scale down your search to a manageable amount
        • Specific aspect of a field of study are often listed in annotated bibliographies
        • Journal specific to a field can be a good resource
        • Get advice from an expert
      • (Union catalog of millions of record available as open resources by Open Archive Initiative)
      • by Tradepub (provides many digital magazine at no charge)
      • Complete Planet
      • O’Reilly’s CD Bookshelf (book accessible online)
      • WebBrain (mind mapping site, provides perspective of individual/ organization)
      • can help in obtaining a specific research if paid
      • Networked digital library of thesis and dissertations ( charge is $25
  • As a beginner researcher, two of the most common problems one might encounter are:
  • Not knowing where to find sources
  • Other sources are located, not knowing how to shift or sort through excess of information to determine what is useful instead of getting lost of cyber space

Tools to manage Research

  • Keep a bibliographic trail
    • Keep track of the source
    • Use tool to search resource on your desktop
    • Use bibliography management tool
  • Use standard template (Microsoft office/LaTex/OpenOffice) for writing papers, reports and thesis –
    • Mendeley is beyond basic and orthodox practices

( )

Keeping track of a resource

  • Location of resource
  • Date of access
  • Title
  • Authors
  • Page numbers
  • Year of publication
  • Library call number (LCN), ISBN, ISSN, DOI
  • Desktop search engine tools can be useful in certain cases

 Bibliography management tools

  • Search: searches all the available academic/non-academic databases
  • Store:
  • Annotate: Addition of notes for future reference
    • Overall: Just a single note om the reference
    • Anywhere: a note anywhere in the document
  • Communicate
    • Import: from various platforms
    • Export: to various platforms
  • Platform
  • Presentation

Referencing and Citation

Demonstration of Mendeley website, application and word plug-in

  • GTU follow referencing style of APA/MLA for reports to be submitted during PhD or PG programmes
  • IEEE style saves space of paper write-up also, reference list is available as per citations made in the text paragraph

Referencing and Citation tools: Offline

  • Microsoft office citation and bibliography tools
  • Zotero (Bibliography plug-in for Firefox) and have plug-in to insert citation in MS-Office and Open Office
  • EndNote by Thompson Reuters (Paid)

 Referencing and Citation tools: Online

  • WebCite
  • Ottobit
  • Nitecite

Writing Styles in general

  • APA
  • Chicago Manual of Styles/ Turabian style
  • Colombia Guide to Online Style (CGOS)
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) Style
  • Harvard Style
  • CBE Style (Council of Biology Editors)
  • LSA (Linguistic Society of America)

Below is the presentation demonstrated by Dr. C. B. Bhatt

Creative Commons License
Review of Research Literature by Bhasker Vijaykumar Bhatt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

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