Posts Tagged ‘literature review’

Using tables to keep an overview on reviewed literature

I am currently working on the literature review part of my dissertation.  After having read quite a bunch of articles I realized, that I kind of lost the overview. Further, when I go back to a topic which I reviewed some time ago, I had difficulties to remember which article had which content.

So I developed a workflow for documenting the reviewed literature. Up to now this approach works quite well:

  • Define the detailed topic, for which you need to review the literature (e.g. definitions of Supply Chain Risks, approaches to Supply Chain Performance Management etc.). I think that the review is easier, when you try to define the topic as narrow as possible.
  • Create a table which includes the main aspects you want to keep an overview on. An example can look like that:
Article Year Research question of the article Approach / method used Main Results Comments


  • Then search for relevant literature
                          1. Look for literature review articles
                          2. Search the key words in the relevant database
    Review the cited literature
  • Read the introduction and summary and decide if the article is relevant for your topic
                          If yes: read the article and afterwards fill in the information
                          If no: archive the article in case you need it later on
  • After having done this summary, I proceed with the detailed annotation. For doing this I use Citavi.

 I am quite happy with this approach as it keep me focused on the main aspects of the detailed topic I am currently working on. I think this approach works best, when you already have developed a structure for your thesis. Then you can split this structure into smaller topics and create for each topic an overview table (each of the tables can have different columns, this is depending on the topic). This makes it easier to  identify the commonalities and differences of the articles and to writea topic or review summary. Later on in the process, when writing or editing your text. You can have a look into the table and see the articles at a glance. If you need more details for a specific topic , then you can look into the reference software, where more details are noted.

Kategorien:Organization, Research Schlagwörter: