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It can be helpful to structure your internet research as if it were conducted on paper.Bookmark papers, which may be relevant, in one folder and make another subfolder for a ‘shortlist.’ Conducting a good literature review takes patience and is a matter of practice.Otherwise, this is usually perceived as being a little lazy, and it is better to organize the review around ideas and individual points.
The next stage is to use the internet, and this is where the difficulties begin.
It’s challenging to judge the credibility of an online paper.
This is why it is still good practice to begin research in an academic library.
Any journals found there can be regarded as safe and credible.
However, internet sources can be very useful for up-to-date information, especially current affairs or ongoing or very recent research.
Blogs and sites like the encyclopaedia Wikipedia are particularly prone to these problems.Evaluating the credibility of sources is one of the most difficult aspects of a literature review, especially with the ease of finding information on the internet.The only real way to evaluate is through experience, but there are luckily a few tricks for evaluating information quickly and accurately. Google does not distinguish or judge the quality of results, only how search engine friendly a paper is.In other words, content has not necessarily been checked, you have no way of knowing whether the author’s facts and claims are at all accurate and you could easily land yourself in trouble by blindly following or citing from online sources.Furthermore, because items on the internet are frequently changed, you may find that something you read yesterday is no longer available in the same form today.For these reasons, a general rule of thumb is that you should only rely on internet resources from the websites of organisations whose information you already know to be reputable, like Skills You Need.Do not underestimate how much physical libraries and librarians may be able to help you.Whilst some literature reviews can be presented in a chronological order, this is best avoided.For example, a review of Victorian Age Physics may certainly present J. Thomson’s famous experiments in a chronological order.A key aspect of a literature review is what sources you select to include, and which you exclude.Thanks to the internet, literature searches are now relatively easy, and can be done from the comfort of your own laptop without needing to go anywhere near a library. The ease with which anybody can access and publish to the internet means that many items published online have not been scrutinised by anybody other than the author.