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Forensic Science Resources: Lit Reviews & Research

Forensic and national security sciences information resources.

Research Strategy Fundamentals

Develop a topic, based on your knowledge or skills, or research:

  • A hypothetical research statement;
  • A question;
  • A phrase

ex.   Can latent prints be found on human skin? 

2. Ask yourself basic questions about your topic.  The questions may start with;

  • How
  • Why
  • Where
  • When
  • What
  • Who

ex.  What are some of the best techniques to develop latent prints on human skin?

3. From those questions, develop key words or terms

ex.  latent prints, fingerprint anaylsis, human remains, death investigation, fingerprint degradation

4. Use those terms when searching databases.

5. You may want to get general, background information on your topic if you know very little about it.

        ex. Encyclopedias, books, reviews of the literature, etc.

6. Use library databases (such as Scopus) to find current scholarship, including peer-reviewed research on your topic.

Writing a Literature Review

A good literature review shows signs of understanding of the issues related to the topic, as well as analytical thinking.  This is shown through the connections you are able to make between the sources reviewed. More detailed information about literature reviews can be found on the Health Psychology guide.

There are usually five parts to a literature review:

1)  Abstract

  • Summary of the motivation for selecting the topic
  • Statement about the types of literature used
  • Summary of your findings
  • Conclusions based on your findings

2)  Introduction

  • Define general topic, or issue.  (This provides the reader with a context for the literature review.)
  • Point out trends in what has been published about the topic
  • Point out disagreements in the theory, methodology, evidence, and conclusions
  • Point out gaps in research and scholarship (where is further research needed?)
  • Explain the criteria used in analyzing and comparing the literature
  • Explain the organization of the review and why certain literature is or is not included in your review

3)  Body

  • Your discussion of the resources used.  This can be organized in different ways, for example: by chronology, by themes, or by methodology
  • You may also talk about questions for further research

4)  Conclusion

  • Provide some insight into the relationship between the central topic of the review and the larger area of study

5)  Bibliography

  • A list of the sources you used cited in the appropriate format

Research Methodology

There are a variety of methods you can adopt for your research strategy, depending on your subject area or the outcome of your research.  Research methodology will differ depending on whether you are:

Your strategies will be different as will the type of information sources you will seek and find.

Scientific Reports

Literature Reviews

Annotated Bibliography

(Above links are handouts from: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)