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DTS Senior Seminar: Planning Your Research

This guide is for students taking Dr. Amy Gannon's capstone class.

What is a Lit Review?

  1. Always check your assignment sheet to ensure you're doing exactly what your professor wants, and
  2. Always check with your professor if you have any questions or are confused about the assignment.

Once you've taken the steps above, use these resources to make sure you stay on track:

Understanding Lit Reviews

Stay on Track, Part 1: Understand the Assignment

  1. Review the assignment sheet.
    • Do this as soon as you can.
    • Take your time to understand the goals of the assignment and what, exactly, you will need to deliver.
    • Make notes on the assignment sheet or in your calendar to highlight any areas you think you might struggle with. Try to determine any workarounds ahead of time (if possible).
    • Ask your professor if you have questions or concerns.
  2. Outline your goals for how you want to complete the project.
    • Example: Goal 1: do preliminary research to find twenty or so sources that seem relevant. Goal 2: Explore ten of those sources to determine which ones to include in Lit Review. Goal 3: Select six of those to use in the Lit Review. Goal 4: Outline the structure of the Lit Review based on a logical progression of those six sources.
  3. Create a timeline with clear due dates for each goal.
    • Example: Do preliminary research by Wednesday. Meet with group by Friday. Begin outline on Tuesday. Practice Presentation on Friday, etc.
  4. Doing this at the beginning will ensure:
    • That you have given yourself enough time to successfully complete the project.
    • That you will not miss any major components of the assignment. 
    • That you will confidently complete the assignment in a focused and stress-free mindset. 

Stay on Track, Part 2: Understand your Research Needs

  1. What search terms or search phrases should you use?
    • Make a list of each term(s) or phrase(s) you think would be relevant to your research. 
    • Often, this will come from the assignment's requirements.
    • Keep track of which searches you have performed and how successful they were (or weren't).
      • This will be helpful if you have to do your research over the course of a few different dates/times.
  2. What Summon filter options should you select?
    • Review the assignment sheet to determine the type of sources you should use (for example, scholarly books versus peer-reviewed journal articles)
    • Review the assignment sheet to determine if a specific publication date range is required (for example, only results that were published within the last five years).
  3. What Discipline or Subject filters (in Summon) should you use? 
    • Remember to choose Diet & Nutrition from the Discipline field in Summon
    • Review the list of Subject Terms to find the related research to your specific needs.
  4. If you have not used Summon before, and are unfamiliar with the context of Steps 2 and 3 above, please review: 
    • The Finding Peer-Reviewed Sources tab above, which has a how-to video
    • The image below, which introduces you to a Summon results page and what you can expect to see there.