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The Fair Way

Welcome to the Fair Way, your partner in Brevard County science research! Evans Library has assembled information, resources, and instructions to help you write the parts of your research plan.

The Literature Review

Athanasios Theologis

Wikipedia. (2014). The plant physiologist Athanasios Theologis, with tomatoes genetically modified to contain the ACC synthase gene.

The literature review gives you background information about your topic. You will search Google Scholar, library databases, and the Internet to not only understand the research problem, but also to know what research has already been done in your field. Having good background information helps you to make better hypotheses and experiment plans.

This page includes information about searching, the reprint file, the bibliography, and incorporating source material with in-text citations.

Searching

Google Scholar is an excellent starting point for your searches, and reading the articles that you find can provide keywords and other terms that you can add to your searches. Citations are very easy to create using Google Scholar's "cite" tool.

Libraries are excellent sources of high-quality, scholarly information. Below is information about some of our area libraries and their resources:

  • Eastern Florida State College  - Open to the public, the Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) Library allows Brevard County residents, aged 15-years and up (photo ID required), to obtain a library card.
  • Brevard County Libraries - The local public library system directs its users to the Florida Electronic Library for access to several excelent full-text databases. Be sure to limit your search results to Academic journals to find the highest-quality scholarly results.
  • Florida Institute of Technology's Evans Library - The Library's home page provides access to many scientific Internet sites, databases, a catalog of the Library's periodicals, books, and other materials, and research help. To use the library's databases, bring your ID to our Service Desk to get a guest pass.

Internet searching - The Internet contains tons of valuable information, but it also contains a lot of inaccurate and not-very-scholarly information. It is important that you evaluate the sources that you find on the Web, to make sure that it is authoritative and useful academically. Ask yourself who created the information - why should you trust these people's information? Why was the information published - to inform, to sell something, to change your thinking? When was the information published - is it still accurate, or do you need more current information? Below are a few guides to evaluating Internet resources:

Google allows searching within specific domains - just add "site:.gov" or "site:.edu" (without the quotes) to your searches to limit results to government or higher education sites, eliminating lots of personal sites, blogs, and even parody sites.

Reprint File

Be sure to make copies of ALL the articles you read - entries from a book, websites, etc. - and keep them for your reprint file. More is usually better, but do not keep things that are not related to your research question.

Anything that you copy for your reprint file will need to be included in your bibliography, so that you can acknowledge that you are using the work of others in accordance with copyright law. Record the bibliography information into your logbook on the day that you copied the information, and write the date on the back of the copies. This will help you when you are ready to type up the references that you actually used.

Read through your reprint file as you find the information and highlight the main ideas. After you have highlighted the information, place the copied pages in a plastic page protector and keep it in your REPRINT FILE notebook. You can fit two pages of copied material in one plastic sleeve (so that one shows through the front and the other on the back).

Bibliography

The literature review should include in-text citations for all of the journal articles, books, websites, and other sources that you included in your literature review (at least five), and each of the items that you cited in your literature review will need a corresponding citation in your bibliography. Each reference, or citation, will include all of the information required to find the resources that you have used in your paper. You will need to make sure that your format is correct according the the style manual that you are using. The OWL at Purdue has an excellent APA formatting resource online (you'll find MLA and Chicago styles there, too).

Incorporating Sources

There are several ways to blend source materials into your literature review:

  • Full quotations are exact words that you copy into your paper and put quotation marks around. In-text citations follow each. Be aware of the rules required by your citation style for longer quotations; some styles require indentation or other special formatting.
  • Partial quotations are useful when only a portion or even one word from the source is needed to prove your point. These are also surrounded with quotation marks and include in-text citations.
  • Paraphrasing is useful when the original source contains good information, but is poorly written or written in a style that makes it difficult to read or understand. Paraphrasing, or restating another person's writing in your own words, allows you to maintain the original ideas in the source material but incorporate them more smoothly into your own writing. Paraphrased content does not contain quotation marks, but it does require in-text citation.
  • Summarizing source material lets you state the author's point, but with fewer words. Rather than restating all of the details in the support material, summaries keep only the most important ideas of the material. Summaries do not have quotation marks, but always include in-text citations.

Regardless of the ways you use the material, be sure to properly cite and give credit to the author’s work.