Note: What you’re required to turn in depends on your university and your project advisor. This blog post, and additional posts about my graduate project, is about my experience.
On September 17th, I had a literature review due. This was a deliverable that was due for me, but you might not be required to turn in a literature review. However, regardless of whether a literature review is required, I still suggest you read some relevant scholastic articles. You should be able to read scholastic articles for free through your school. I especially suggest reading articles because if your graduate project deals with improving something, you can get an idea of what things were like in the past and notice flaws in a system.
I have done literature review critiques in my Human-Computer Interaction class, but for that class, we review one article of our choosing almost once a week. This meant that the concept of a literature review was not new to me, but since I had to review multiple articles in one, I needed a little assistance to figure out this new way of reviewing articles. For that, I used this sample literature review from a different school as a guide. However, ask your project advisor about the guidelines on how to format your literature review as title page guidelines may vary from school to school, or even professor to professor.
If you have a literature review, you need to find articles that are relevant to your project. As my project is to improve emergency healthcare services for autistic children, I looked at my long list of autism articles sent to me by a doctoral student to find articles that dealt with autistic children in healthcare. I then took notes on each article to start figuring out how to organize my literature review. After reading the articles, I decided to organize my literature review in the following sections:
- Introduction (which mainly explained what autism is)
- Barriers to treating autistic patients in a healthcare setting
- Suggestions to reduce treatment barriers
- Critiques of the articles and studies
Time for some self-reflection. When I was reading the articles, I thought back to the experiences of my autistic uncle who died in 2007. Complications from getting some teeth pulled had him in the hospital and the doctors didn’t take as much care with him because he was primarily nonverbal. People who have read my other blog posts know that I am autistic as well and have medical-related anxiety. A nurse wasn’t very sympathetic with my anxiety traits when I had to get a throat swab to test for strep throat years ago and it ended up being a traumatic experience. I didn’t mean to move the back of my tongue multiple times to stop her from swabbing my throat. I know I’m too old for that nonsense, but I have severe anxiety issues that are related to my TWO anxiety disorders and my then-undiagnosed autism. That was one of the last times I went to a doctor. I haven’t been to a doctor in over four years and it would be hard for me to find an autism-friendly doctor.
We need to keep the end goal of our graduate projects in mind. We need to think about the articles from the past to shape how our projects positively impact the future.