Select a Topic

  • Select your topic based on your interest and available scholarly literature
  • Consult with your mentor – seminal papers on the topic?
  • Define what you WILL include in your research
  • Constrain your topic by defining what you WILL NOT include in your research
  • Remember Goldilocks – you want your topic scope to be just right, not too big, not too small

Develop the Argument

  • Map out the claims in the literature – there may be multiple
  • What is the data and its relevance?
  • Is there enough strength for what is being claimed?
  • Where are the gaps in the literature?
  • Where are the connections?

Structure a Protocol for your Search

You can build a protocol for your literature review and search process before starting. A checklist developed by the Cornell Library Evidence Synthesis Service to walk you through this process is available as a pdf. 

Brainstorm Your Search Options

This is a graphic depicting different article types and their strength of evidence.