Abstract Review–organize and cross-reference your literature

Once you have your dissertation prospectus approved, you’ll be moving into high research gear! It might be daunting to think about all you have to do, but inch-by-inch, its a cinch. In this post, I will describe how you can use an Abstract Review to jump start your research process, by setting up a structured method of identifying and organizing the articles you find, and cross-referencing them to look at in more detail later.

Abstract Review Throughout this post, I will refer to specific slide numbers of my Voice Thread on Organizing your Lit Review, that I talk about in a my note taking blog post.

Early Goal: Use the Abstract Review to identify articles on your topic to prepare for the construction of your dissertation outline.

The graphic below is an overview of the literature research process. You are starting at the star; working to identify and obtain articles. During the Abstract Review, you are trying to accomplish the first three stages. Your job is to work on getting a good feel for what literature is out there regarding the major topics of your dissertation. Read chapter 8 of Dr. Dawidowicz’s book, Literature Reviews Made Easy so you see how you’ll use the information you’re organizing during this phase of the process.

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AutoCorrect: Save Time and Finger Jams

Why Use Autocorrect?

When I was writing my dissertation, there were certain words my fingers just didn’t like to type. One such word was “asynchronous.” And unfortunately it was in the title of my study, and I used it A LOT. I have since found a wonderful tool embedded in Word where you can “teach” your computer to auto-correct words for you! Imagine how great it would be if all I had to do was type asy/ and “asynchronous discussions” would automatically appear. Imagine the efficiency!

What Does AutoCorrect Do?  AutoCorrect allows you to assign a “text tag” to be replaced with a text of your choosing.

How Can You Use AutoCorrect? I like to use AutoCorrect to speed up my grading. For example, when I come across a sentence where the ideas are not clear, I insert a new comment and type

huh/

and Word replaces it with

I’m not sure what this means. Please rephrase for clarity.

 See how much nicer that sounds?

Here’s another example I use a lot. (Maybe I’ve used it on one of your papers?) I type in

anthro/

and Word replaces it with

This is an example of an anthropomorphism. Theories, concepts, paper sections, and literature reviews can’t “do” anything. Work on rephrasing this. See Walden Writing Center Website and this blog post

Notice I can include links? Are you starting to get a feel of the power of this tool? Read on to figure out how to make it work for you during the dissertation phase.

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