My writing desk is in a room with one big window to the side and a small one high up on the wall behind my chair. Then there is the window on my notebook computer. It makes my room a library.
Last Saturday I went to a study group where we talked about bringing papers to discuss, like a traditional style of tutorial. I hadn’t done that for a while, as I mainly keep electronic versions of my references. However, when I looked at the papers I use for a simple literature review, I was astounded. There are so many!
It is so easy to keep a record using bibliographic management software (EndNote), that I lost track of the number of references often required. I’m not even sure whether having fewer references is a good thing. It just goes to show how habituated people are to their electronic libraries.
My current literature review is an effort to consolidate my thoughts on my thesis by tackling a separate unit of study. After two different focus areas, I have now settled on a third which seems more in line with the course text book than the previous two.
Having electronic articles makes it easier to work through different topics, but also means that I am doing three times the research work, which slows down my writing. As I write, I check the literature and my references to see that I have understood the approach of previous researchers.
My literature review is folded in on itself. It has three divergent directions, hidden in the writing and researching process. Perhaps the earlier topics will relate to other assignments?
In any case, it is a relief to finally have a coherent approach. Now to find some standardised tests suitable for administering to the target population.