Literature Review Spreadsheet
Right now I'm in the process of frantically revising chapters. Revisions of chapters 1, 2, and 3 are due to my advisor very soon, and chapters 1 and 3 are what need the most work in the whole thing, sigh.
I wrote my literature review a long time ago; I guess I've been writing it for years now: in seminar papers, preliminary exams, etc. What I need to do now is organize it in a clean, streamlined way in order to make broad claims about the body of research -- which is, in this case, work with gender and technology in composition studies.
Throughout the process of writing my dissertation, I've sometimes had these leaps in my thinking, these "why didn't I think of this two years ago?" ideas. Last night, as I was revising my chapter, I had one. I decided to take all the articles, books, and book chapters I'm reviewing and put them in a spreadsheet. I have only five columns: Author, Year, Category, Theory, and Method. I'm categorizing these essays according to what the authors are doing and/or talking about. My categories, which are subheadings in my literature review, are:
The Body in Cyberspace (remember all those pieces that were published in the late 1990s? Almost all used some theoretical combination of Stone, Haraway, Foucault, and Turkle)
Hypertext as Écriture Féminine
Girl Culture Online
Professional Space (women's professional web sites)
These categories pretty much cover most of the research that's been done. Perhaps some of you have already had the idea to do a literature review spreadsheet, but I thought I'd share it anyway. I think it will help me to be as comprehensive as possible. It'll also be nice to sort the data by year, category, or any other heading.
Edited: Immediately after hitting "Submit," I thought of another column: Technology. I realized I wanted to keep track of whether the technology being studied was email, a bulletin board, a MOO, what have you.