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Top page Dual use of land for PV farms and agriculture literature review (8,984)
How to do a literature review using Appropedia

Before you start - read this: Pearce, Joshua M. (2018). How to Perform a Literature Review with Free and Open Source Software. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 23(9). Available online: http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=23&n=8 open access

How to do a Literature Review[edit | edit source]

Lit. reviews in the FAST Group[edit | edit source]

  • Create Lit. Review page here on Appropedia for your topic. (start a new page by searching for it and then clicking on the resultant red link). Put {{FAST notice}}{{FAST literature review notice}} at the top of the page. For a quick start simply copy the source of a template and paste it to your new page:
  • Keep records of all your searches.(e.g. Google Scholar for "Solar energy").
  • Make a Citation List for all the articles you find relevant to your topic. Arrange in chronological order.
  • Unless you have a particular target journal citations should be arranged like this: Author, "Title", Journal, Vol(No), page range, year.
  • Hyperlink your citation to the available electronic file or at least the abstract. Ideally link to the DOI and include a link to an open access version if it exists.
  • Add a bullet point list after the article with your summary and thoughts on the article - what was important in it that you will want to use in your own work. For this - do not use complete sentences so you do not self plagiarize later.
  • Put the title of the article in between a set of equal signs to create the table of contents.

For example: Getting It Done: Effective Sustainable Policy Implementation at the University Level

Joshua Pearce and Christopher Uhl, "Getting It Done: Effective Sustainable Policy Implementation at the University Level" Planning for Higher Education, 31(3), 53-61, 2003.

  • 4 point method to change university policy: sustainability audit, ecological mission statement, economic/enviro study of building, policy papers
  • Use ethics, ROI argument
  • Big picture, long term thinking


  • Different journals have different requirements for the formats of citations. However, it makes it much easier to write your own articles in the future if you have all the possible information they could want in your citation list.
  • Ideally store all articles electronically in a folder. Save pdfs of all relevant articles. If we do not have access here order through interlibrary loan.
  • Arrange in chronological order by grouping into research group or concept.
  • Use free and open source Zotero to manage your references. ZOTERO is a bibliography management plug-in for Firefox. It allows auto-adding bibliographic information; notes to be added on each reference; importing and exporting bibliography databases. You can scrape bib data off of a pdf - then export to paste into Appropedia for your lit. review and then eventually a paper. Zotero is also available for Chrome as plug-in 'Zotero Connector'.
  • You can also]] follow this guide to run the whole lit review with Zotero : Using Zotero to create literature reviews

Searching[edit | edit source]

Web search[edit | edit source]

  • Consider also doing web searches with standard search engines to get data missed in the peer-reviewed literature.
  • After finding webpages, ppt, pdf files make sure to keep paste full links in your Citation List
  • For datasets from a computational knowledge engine try WolframAlpha

Library and Database Searches[edit | edit source]

Patents[edit | edit source]

For example:
"gallium indium nitride" and ccl/136/$
"indium gallium nitride" and ccl/136/$
GaInN and ccl/136/$
InGaN and ccl/136/$

Literature Tree[edit | edit source]

  • Try to find a recent review article on the subject and then follow the reference list backwards
  • For basic concepts use the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia that anyone can edit - (This is what the Internet is supposed to be doing for humanity.) Consider adding to the world's knowledge on a subject we are exploring (e.g. protocrystalline)
    • Contact authors for reprints and ask for recent work
    • Look up authors/research groups online for electronic access.

Software Tools[edit | edit source]

Zotero[edit | edit source]

ZOTERO is a bibliography management plug-in for Firefox. It allows auto-adding bibliographic information; notes to be added on each reference; importing and exporting bibliography databases.

Backing Up[edit | edit source]

Zotero has been known to replace the computer-side database (ie the one you were updating and adding to) with the web-server database (the old one), through auto-sync. Turn this feature off to prevent loss of data; do remember to sync to the server (click the green circle icon) if you are moving to another computer and want access to the complete database; but back up your data before you sync.

  1. To backup: Click the Gear icon.
  2. Select Export Library
  3. Select Zotero RDF and click both files and notes options (this appears to be a complete backup; untested, if you test it (on a non-synching home computer) change this wiki!)
  4. Give it a logical filename - it would be a good idea to use a time-date format to avoid re-importing the wrong one
  5. To reimport: Click the Gear icon
  6. Select Import...
  7. Select the file you backed everything up to.
Creating Bibliographies[edit | edit source]

When exporting bibliographic information, Zotero will export the Author (or editor) name as it is formatted inside Zotero. It has the option to have Full Name or Last,First.

  1. To switch between formats: Select the document you would like to change the format of (from your reference list in Zotero)
  2. To switch to Full Name format: Click the white rectangle button beside the Author entry
  3. To switch to Last,First: Click the two smaller white rectangles

You can export your bibliographic data in any supported reference format (if you are submitting to a journal that does not use one of the Zotero default formats get it here or make your own here:

  1. Select the items you want from your bibliography list
  2. Right click on them
  3. Select "create bibliography from selected items", where you will then be prompted for a reference format and an output method (clipboard, html file, etc). Use clipboard if you want to directly paste the information into a document.
Adding References to Zotero[edit | edit source]

Importing automatically: the most common glitches are Authors; sometimes they are merged into one entry, the order is wrong, authors are left off, etc. Check your authors as you import to avoid delays when you submit papers

References can be added automatically by clicking the extra icon in the address bar, which changes based on the type of page you are looking at.

Not recommended to use this method; seems to cause problems with retrieving complete/correct information: The latest version of ZOTERO can automatically fill in all it's reference data if you give it an ISBN or a DOI:

  1. Click the "Add Item by Identifier" feature (little wand icon) [if you dont see this icon, upgrade Zotero to the latest version].

References can be added manually. Click the Green +.

Lit review for open hardware project on XXXX[edit | edit source]

  1. Make sure you add [[Category:MY5490-2021]]
  2. Make sure it has not been done before - e.g. Google "open source XXXX", "how to make a XXXX" "DIY XXXX"
  3. Make sure it is not already in the literature Google Scholar search "fabrication of XXXX" "Assembly of XXXX" instrumentation + XXXXX, etc.
  4. Do a complete market analysis for similar products - send requests for quotes now!
  5. Find the literature explaining how XXXX works
  6. Look for review articles on instrumentation
  7. Do a short search for applications of XXXX

See also[edit | edit source]

Pages in category "FAST literature reviews"

The following 126 pages are in this category, out of 126 total.


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