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Writing a Literature Review: Keeping Track of Information

Why Cite?

  • To avoid plagiarism
  • Give proper credit to the authors of the information you use
  • Allow readers to find your sources
  • Avoid serious academic consequences

Effective Note-Taking

It is good practice to keep a record of your search results, methodology and strategy, so you don't have to go through them repeatedly.

  • Start with the newest research.  This often points to useful older research.
  • Read the abstract, introduction and conclusion.
  • Scan the item to see if you can see how it's organized.
  • Document any quotations you'd like to save for later. Use quotation marks and note the complete citation and page number for the quote.
  • Paraphrase or summarise some main points.

Search Logs

Below is an example of a "synthesis matrix" by Jennifer Lim.  You can create a table like this to help keep track of the ideas generated by the sources you're using.