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Literature Reviews: Keeping Track of Information

This interdisciplinary guide describes the basic steps of doing a literature review.


Use Citation Managers

Track sources and format bibliographies as well as download citations from library catalogs and databases.

    EndNote is a free download for GSU students, faculty and staff.  Check GSU's EndNote research guide for more information.
  Zotero is a free Firefox plugin.  It was developed by historians to support historical and related  research.  Check GSU's Zotero research guide for more information.

 Check out this page for a comparison of several citation managers.

Why Cite?

  • To avoid plagiarism
  • Give proper credit to the authors of the information you use
  • Allow readers to find your sources
  • Avoid serious academic consequences

    Use Bookmark Managers

    These bookmarking services are web-based, and go where you go:

    Alternatively, many internet browsers, such as Firefox offer bookmark services.

    Use Effective Note-Taking

    It is good practice to keep a record of your search results, methodology and strategy, so you don't have to go through them over and over again.

    • Start with the newest research.  Recent research often points to useful older research.
    • Read the abstract (if supplied), the introduction and conclusion.
    • Scan the item to see if you can see how it's organized.
    • Document any quotations you'd like to save for later. Use quotation marks and note the complete citation and page number for the quote.
    • Paraphrase or summarize some main points.

    Use Search Logs

    Below is an example of a "synthesis matrix" by Jennifer Lim.  You can create a table like this to help keep track of the ideas generated by the sources you're using.