Literature Review, pt. 3

Uploaded by Wesleyan on 17.06.2010

Okay, so what is the literature review going to do for you? Just because you have a research
question, it doesn’t mean that it’s the exact research question that you’re going
to use because you just picked it. You picked it because you were interested in it. Now
you’re going to do a literature review; you’re going to refine that question; focus
that question; expand it; narrow it and do whatever you need to do with it. So as you
read, there should be an exchange between your research question and what you’re learning.
The literature review may cause you to add to the complexity of the research question,
further focus that question or even abandon the question for another question. I hope
that you don’t have to do that.
[Hobbs]: Were you going to say something about searching other terms or — ?
[Dierker]: Thank you, Kendall. Yes, I was going to do that. That’s very important.
Let me go back to the search page. Okay, I’ve made this look really easy, but it’s not
going to be that easy for you. I mean, obviously I know what search terms to use. I know that
nicotine dependence and smoking will get me right in there. I know that those are the
words that I should use. There are other words that I could have used like tobacco dependence,
or cigarette use or some other things that basically mean the same things as nicotine
dependence and smoking. I knew because I’m very familiar with that area that those are
the terms that I needed to use.
You guys have some wonderful topics. As I read through them, I was like hmm, what search
term would I use for that? I have no idea. You guys might have to do a little bit of
precursor work to find the right search terms to find what you’re looking for.
Let me give you an example. A lot of you who were using AddHealth seemed to be interested
in what I’ll call parenting, broadly defined. Some of you were interested in like how much
time you spend with your parents; other people were interested in like the quality of parent
relationships. I don’t remember all of the questions in AddHealth, but there are different
kinds of subtopics within the sort of parenting umbrella.
If I go here and I click “parenting,” and this time I don’t need to go to my title
because I’m not looking for actual references. I’m looking for terms. If I click “parenting”
and go to “topic” and “search,” let me show you what I find. I find 9,637 things.
Do not read those things. Those are not what you want.
But if I go through the titles, I’m actually going to maybe be able to find some other
words that really more hit my topic than just parenting because parenting can be a lot of
different things. So here I find the word “parental attribution.” Another word that
I find “parent bonding, pair.” There are “parenting practices.” I mean, there are
a lot of things.
I mean, I don’t know what you guys are interested in, but you need to find out what words you
need to search on before you can hit and go for the target the way that I just did through
my topic. Here is another one: “parenting efficacy.” I mean, there are just lots of
them. “Parental discipline,” I’m sure is another one.
I don’t know what you’re interested in, but you should look back to figure out what
exactly was measured in AddHealth and try again through the search terms to better narrow
down what you’re doing.
Again, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to start reading these. What you're going
to do when you search this is you’re going to write down words that are appropriate and
then you’re going to go back and do the kind of search that I just showed you.
[Hobbs]: Yes, one thing about the difference between the citation index and PsycINFO, is
that in PsycINFO it does also have standardized subject headings to where if you don’t know
the terms that people use, you can look through that to find okay, what do psychologists say
about these particular things. What terms do they use. In the Science Citation Index
since they are standardized subject headings, you have to rely on titles and abstract.
[Dierker]: That’s right.
I’ve showed you how I went through and I found about six references that really hit
my topic really sort of dead in the middle. They were all pretty much published in the
last two to three years. So there was a time when I would look up something like that,
and I couldn’t find anything. There was like one paper on the topic, and you guys
may find that, that oh, my gosh, there’s one paper on this topic.
Then what you’d do is you do kind of move out from the bull’s eye. It’s not like
oh, there’s only one paper and so I can’t do it; I abandon my topic. It’s great that
there’s one paper. This is kind of new and cutting edge. It’s wonderful, and so what
you want to do is sort of expand out a little bit.
A few years back before those six papers were published, here are some examples of what
I would have pulled up. The first one is on smoking and nicotine dependence, but the next
one is on cocaine use and dependence, and so the relationship between how much cocaine
you use and whether or not you’re dependent. The next one is on marijuana use and dependence,
and the last one is on alcohol use and dependence.
If I don’t have papers on smoking and nicotine dependence, I’m going to broaden it out
and say, “Well, I’m interested in addiction and sort of the level of substance exposure
that you need before you find that you’re feeling those addiction symptoms.” If I
only have one or two papers, you do want to broaden out to get some perspective. If you
do need to do that, then you probably need some consultation with librarians and TAs
and instructors and that kind of thing, just to give you a lot of support to do it.
I don’t want you to say, “Oh, no, I’ve only found two things and so I’m going to
change my dataset and change my topic.” No, don’t change your dataset. You don’t
have to change your topic, but this is the time where the insane amounts of one-on-one
support really make a lot of sense, meaning to get out there; get into it, and start figuring
out what you’re doing. Figure whether you feel like you’re hitting a dead end or you’re
not, because there is not a lot of time.