Literature Review

  • Ratna Tantra


Doing a literature review is an integral part of research and yet it can be a daunting process. In this chapter, I will give you practical guidelines on how to conduct an effective literature review. Overall, the process can be divided into five main steps:
  1. 1.

    Come up with a statement of purpose, to establish why you need to do the review in the first place.

  2. 2.

    Come up with key words, so that you can plug these into search engines or scientific databases, to identify relevant papers.

  3. 3.

    Manage your search (through the use of a suitable reference software) and order your papers. The reference software will help you keep track on what literature you have, as well as allow you to cite them with ease when you write papers.

  4. 4.

    Read the papers and extract the information that you want.

  5. 5.

    Adopt an effective way to absorb information from your reading material, such as the use of a spider diagram in order to condense the information. Such a diagram will enable you to see connections between ideas/sub-ideas from different papers more clearly.



Literature Statement of purpose Patents Reference software Spider diagram 


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  9. Kramer, D. (2005). How to read a patent. ASHRAE Journal, 47(5), 90–92.Google Scholar
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  11. Shah, P. (1998). Successful study: The essential skills. Andover: Cengage Learning EMEA.Google Scholar
  12. Tantra, R., Brown, R. J. C., Milton, M. J. T., & Gohil, D. (2008). A practical method to fabricate gold substrates for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Applied Spectroscopy, 62(9), 992–1000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ratna Tantra
    • 1
  1. 1.PortsmouthUK

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