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Literature Searches, Surveys and Reviews: Tutorials on Writing Literature Reviews

This guide walks transportation professionals and students through the basics of conducting transportation literature searches, surveys and reviews.

Tutorials on Writing Literature Reviews

Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students
North Carolina State University Libraries, undated.

This video includes a unique visualization of the process of organizing existing literature, with major works forming the core of a web and studies that respond or build on them. This web identifies and depicts relationships among sources and provides a framework for developing and connecting original ideas to the body of published literature.


Literature Review
Texas A&M University Libraries, July 23, 2013.

This website includes a lengthy video lecture on planning a literature review, searching for literature, assessing it and writing the review. It advises authors to consider their timeline and any standards they must follow in their planning process. It also recommends that authors determine criteria for papers that would be useful to cite in their research before beginning their literature search—defining details of the subject that are of interest and limiting by factors such as geography or time period. Existing literature reviews can be a useful resource by demonstrating what work has been done recently and by suggesting search methods and articles for inclusion. New literature reviews should not replicate previous ones, and if there is too much overlap, the focus of the review may need to be adjusted to focus on areas not already covered.


The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It
Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto, undated.

This website offers a series of questions for researchers to help shape the literature review as they research and write it. Additional questions help to assess the validity of the books and articles they consider including in the review.


Writing a Literature Review and Using a Synthesis Matrix
Florida International University Center for Excellence in Writing, 2006.

This presentation describes the synthesis matrix technique for organizing information. The synthesis matrix is a chart with the major ideas found in the literature labeling the rows and the individual sources labeling the columns. Individual chart entries list related information from each source. The technique is useful for clarifying patterns in the literature as well as areas where different sources agree and disagree.


Writing a Literature Review
University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs, undated
This four-part video series presents the elements of writing a literature review.


Excerpted from Literature Searches and Literature Reviews for Transportation Research Projects: How to Search, Where to Search, and How to Put It All Together: Current Practices 

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