Simple Logs or "Notebooks"
You might simply keep a notebook with any kind of comments or questions you have about anything related to your project. You may have sections on your initial understanding and goals for the project, on searches tried, on methods for analysis, on possible relevent considerations, on problems, etc.
More Involved Logs, "Notebooks", or a "File/Folder System".
You may have notebook sections like the following for comments, etc. related to your review project. These may also be separate "files" or "folders" in a "filing system" (again, paper or electronic).
- Background and Planning Initial information, thoughts, and plans/timeline for completing. Also ideas concerning changes to plans.
- Research topic/questions Initial, updated and final drafts of your topic.
- Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria (IE Criteria) What are you looking for that will lead you to choose the sources that might have information you need. The criteria also indicate what information sources you will not choose to use (exclude). Also you might list what will guide your selection of actual content/information eventually used/incorporated into your review.
- Scoping or Ad hoc searches & results Initial "reconnaissance" for initial mapping of an area or for periodic update/checking, etc. It is possible to adjust your IE criteria.
- Full Search Design/Search results/ Use of results/Search Modification, etc.
- Extraction What information you need and in fact are choosing to pull out of sources to use.
- Analysis or Synthesis Ideas, sketches, thinking in response to the information you have identified in the information sources.
- Browsing Information activities that are "not systematic", online, or in the "library stacks", etc.
- "Extra" Ideas that don't fit elsewhere in notebook, thoughts that are kind of serendipitous. etc.
- ILL - Actions taken to get items from outside of KSU or Ohio, and results.
- Drafts of review
In addition to a research log (or filing system) for documenting your overall "literature review" goals, actitivies, ideas, and comments, etc., there are more detailed approaches for documenting your literature search activities (e.g., document computer searches, article selection, and the selection of information for use from the articles). Thoughts and resources for this kind of documenting are below.