Don’t lose hope on the amount of information out there on your topic. Literature research may seem like a lot of information that will make you drown in quicksand. Getting through this chunk of information is indeed a huge task but if you plan it, you can get rid of that problem, one bit at a time.
To help you get through all that information in small sizes, we have compiled an easy plan for you to follow.
Step 1: What do you want to find out?
Do you have a research question ready or are you looking for information to make your research question strong? Before you start reading all the relevant information, make up your mind about what you are researching for. If you are at the stage of exploring a topic or a subject, then state the purpose of your research as “understanding the basic ideas of topic ABC”. If you are looking for opposing theories on the effect of event A on event B, then write it down clearly.
Having a clear perspective and goal will help you find the right information at this step of the research. You will begin to notice that reading for different goals for your research will help you focus on various aspects of publication.
Step 2: How much time do you have on your hands?
You can spend the whole day or just 20 minutes on the entire paper. If you really want to manage your time in the best possible way, then give you work a structure. Plan the work by giving yourself deadlines.
Once you are aware how much time do you have on your hands, start planning. If you have a month for the entire research, take 1.5 weeks to go through the essentials, 1 week to explore the sidelines of your research and 1 week to write a literature review.
Step 3: Study the essentials
Identify the key publications of your study. A good way to start is to find an authentic and a detailed review paper or a report. Start the topic by chewing on the references on that paper or report.
To understand the basics of the new subject, you need to spend some time on it. Understand the basic equations and principles of that study. All this will require sitting down, noting down important points and slowly working your way through all the relevant material. The process will be similar to a student going through a difficult chapter of a textbook. You may find yourself spending too much time on the some papers. However, they will build the foundation of your research along with further readings.
Step 4: Speed through the Sidelines
Separate all the papers that you find interesting, give additional insights but are not relevant to the field of study. Note that these papers are not of lesser importance, you can’t skip the side information. You have to understand all the concepts spend less time in order to understand all the elements.
The key is to go through everything in a quick manner. It will be like speed-reading through everything. Train the eyes to look at a group of words rather than looking at a single word at a time.
Step 5: Archive what you read
Reading is important but finding that paper and looking for more information is a vital aspect in controlling the large chunk of information over the time.
You can keep a digital archive or archive hard copies. Arrange your document in such a way that you are able to find those papers even after three years.
Step 6: Keep an eye on the outcome
Don’t rely on information and results available when you first researching on a topic. What appeared to be the truth yesterday may not remain the same with today’s results. Develop a strategy to keep your research updated in order to maintain the best outcome. Subscribe to the publication updates of the relevant journals and set up RSS feed on relevant keywords.