Today was spent reformatting and editing my thesis reference list and literature spreadsheet (been at it for about 8 hours now). I have used Zotero for storing my bibliographical information (and have tried Endnote and others) but even when you export the entries, there are always errors, no matter which software you use. So I am undergoing that painstaking (but necessary) process of checking every individual reference (I have around 150 sources so far, with another 100 or so still needing to be added). Every publication you write for requires a different referencing style (Chicago, Harvard, MLA, APA etc.) and even within those styles there are minor differences depending on the multitude of versions. I have been told that as long as I am consistent with the style (I am using Harvard, UTS), the examiners will have no qualms.
I have already written a version of my literature review, but I really don’t like it. I am now trialling a new process called the Systematic Quantitative Literature Review. If you are interested, I think it’s worth checking out. Once I have written the new version of the Lit Review, I will post my opinions on it’s effectiveness.
It seems to be very efficient at identifying and demonstrating gaps in research/knowledge. Essentially I am creating a new spreadsheet with all the literature sources (articles, books, websites etc.) and then identifying in the various columns what each article was discussing (or not discussing as the case may be). What was each article’s focus? Where does my own research fill the gap in knowledge. I already know the answer to this but what the spreadsheet will allow me to do is quantify the results and give real data to my understanding of the field of research. It means that I can also produce tables and graphs – which I love so much! So rather than me just stating something as fact, I actually have some hard data to back it up. For example, out of the 50 articles written in the past 5 years on the topic of transmedia, only 1 article looked at the representation of gender or sexuality. You can also look at where the research is taking place by quantifying the location of the authors by city or country. How many authors who wrote papers about transmedia were from Australia? These are the types of data sets that I am hoping will be able to help bolster my lit review and give it some weight.
I probably still have another day or two of data entry and formatting, but I feel once this gritty task is complete that it will help with the writing process. That’s my hope anyway. Back to the grind, I go!