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Global Senior Project

First, I am incredibly excited to be working with you on your Global Senior Projects.  I LOVE RESEARCH, A LOT. I hope that by the end of this process you will feel accomplished, knowledgeable, and prepared for college research writing. I am just an email, text, zoom or phone call away, yes that does mean all summer too for those of you so inclined to get ahead for next year.

Next, Let’s looks at a step-by-step process for creating and organizing a literature review.---This is the big picture. You will not be doing all of this today or even this first week.  But I want you to have the whole picture. Here is a sample literature review.


Writing a Literature Review: Six Steps

Step One: Decide on your areas of research:

might consider researching the use of fertilizer on golf courses and its impact on the local wildlife or biomes. Begin with finding articles that help define your topic or area of interest.  Then look into areas of controversy or issues related to your core topic. 

Step Two: Search for the literature:

Begin with a qualified database provided by a library.  Google, especially scholar can be helpful, but since you do not have a ton of knowledge in this topic a database with sources selected by content experts is the way to start. I recommend Science Direct and Proquest Central as your starting points. I will post a helpful search video for you as you can learn a lot from the hints a database will give you. Passwords to databases are here. Also, mine the bibliographies of useful articles for additional sources.

NOTE: Step 3 & 4 can be done simultaneously.


Step Three: Code the literature:

Using different color highlighters, flags or a coding system ( c=claim, con=conclusion, D=disagreement, F=finding...) READ, READ, READ the articles!!!!! Let me say that AGAIN READ THE ARTICLES!!!

Using your chosen system of identifying important stuff code your articles AS YOU READ THEM. Seriously trust me on this. You will use the coding in noodletools (tags work or you can use the title of the notecard to help you code the data you are keeping) or in your google sheet.


Step Four: Place your findings in an organizer (noodletools or google sheet):

As you READ the contents of each book and article and look specifically for these five things:

1. Claims, conclusions, and findings of the constructs you are investigating

2. Definitions of terms

3. Calls for follow-up studies relevant to your project

4. Gaps you notice in the literature

5. Disagreement about the constructs you are investigating

When you find any of these five things, I recommend using noodletools to take your notes but if you choose to use a google document (trust me and use a spreadsheet), you need to cite the source first so you can connect your notes with the appropriate source (what you will use in the parenthesis for your in-text citations). You can use this kind of table below--I would actually recommend that you use an excel spreadsheet for this, not a google document.


In-text citation

Identify what it is

Claim, conclusion, finding, definition, gap, disagreement, study item

Paraphrase or quotation (put it in quotes)

Connections to other quotations or paraphrases (you may not be able to fill this out right away but you will need this)

Step Five: Create Your Conceptual Schema:

This part gets easier if you have used noodletools (and done the notecards well) or a google sheet.  If you have used the tags in noodltools you can create piles of your notecards in the themes.  If you have used a sheet you can sort the entries in your sheet by the second column. This will help you make comparisons between authors (you will need this later trust me).


Step Six: Begin to Write Your Literature Review:

Choose any section of your conceptual schema to begin with. You can begin anywhere because you already know the order. Figure out a mini-conceptual schema based on that theme by grouping together those excerpts that say the same thing. My "They Say, I Say" guide to writing moves will help you to bring your writing together. Use that mini-conceptual schema to write up your literature review based on the excerpts that you have in front of you. Don’t forget to include the citations as you write, so as not to lose track of who said what. Be sure it is connected to your bibliography. Repeat this for each section of your literature review.


Once you complete these six steps, you will have a complete draft of your literature review. The great thing about this process is that it breaks down into manageable steps, something that seems enormous: writing a literature review.


Your tasks that should be completed ASAP

Select a topic-  this should be something you are passionate about.  You have to spend a good bit of time learning about this topic for several months and reading up to 25 articles on this topic.  Make it something you are interested in that is related to global ecology (which is a really broad area).  Notice how I selected something about my 2nd favorite thing on the planet...GOLF! Find at least 25 research article from either Science Direct or Proquest Central that is about your topic.  Capture or create an APA citation for the article. 

Yes, add this to your noodletools or google sheet.

Share your noodletools project or google sheet with me (

READ YES READ! The article, please.

Capture notes for the articles in the specified coding strategy (c=claim, con=conclusion, D=disagreement, F=finding)

Each note gets its own notecard in Noodletools or line on your Google sheet.