# Literature Review

### Member Training: Practical Advice for Establishing Reliability and Validity

October 30th, 2019 by

How do you know your variables are measuring what you think they are? And how do you know they’re doing it well?

A key part of answering these questions is establishing reliability and validity of the measurements that you use in your research study. But the process of establishing reliability and validity is confusing. There are a dizzying number of choices available to you.

### Steps to Running Any Statistical Model Questions, Part 1

February 15th, 2013 by

Recently I gave a webinar The Steps to Running Any Statistical Model.  A few hundred people were live on the webinar.  We held a Q&A session at the end, but as you can imagine, we didn’t have time to get through all the questions.

This is the first in a series of written answers to some of those questions.  I’ve tried to sort them by the step each is about.

A written list of the steps is available here.

If you missed the webinar, you can view the video here.  It’s free.

### Questions about Step 1. Write out research questions in theoretical and operational terms

#### Q: In using secondary data research designing, have you found that this type of data source affects the research question? That is, should one have a strong understanding of the data to ensure their theoretical concept can be operational to fit the data?  My research question changes the more I learn.

Yes.  There’s no point in asking research questions that the data you have available can’t answer.

So the order of the steps would have to change—you may have to start with a vague idea of the type of research question you want to ask, but only refine it after doing some descriptive statistics, or even running an initial model.

#### Q: How soon in the process should one start with the first group of steps?

You want to at least start thinking about them as you’re doing the lit review and formulating your research questions.

Think about how you could measure variables, which ones are likely to be collinear or have a lot of missing data.  Think about the kind of model you’d have to do for each research question.

Think of a scenario where the same research question could be operationalized such that the dependent variable is measured either continuous or ordered categories.  An easy example is income in dollars measured by actual income or by income categories.

By all means, if people can answer the question with a real and accurate number, your analysis will be much, much easier.  In many situations, they can’t.  They won’t know, remember, or tell you their exact income.  If so, you may have to use categories to prevent missing data.  But these are things to think about early.

#### Q: where in the process do you use existing lit/results to shape the research question and modeling?

I would start by putting the literature review before Step 1.  You’ll use that to decide on a theoretical research question, as well as ways to operationalize it..

But it will help you other places as well.  For example, it helps the sample size calculations to have variance estimates from other studies.  Other studies may give you an idea of variables that are likely to have missing data, too little variation to include as predictors.  They may change your exploratory factor analysis in Step 7 to a confirmatory one.

In fact, just about every step can benefit from a good literature review.

If you missed the webinar, you can view the video here.  It’s free.

### Great Resources for Your Literature Review

April 30th, 2010 by

by Ursula Saqui, Ph.D.

This is the second post of a two-part series on the overall process of doing a literature review.  Part one discussed the benefits of doing a literature review, how to get started, and knowing when to stop.

You have made a commitment to do a literature review, have the purpose defined, and are ready to get started.

Where do you find your resources?

If you are not in academia, have access to a top-notch library, or receive the industry publications of interest, you may need to get creative if you do not want to pay for each article. (In a pinch, I have paid up to \$36 for an article, which can add up if you are conducting a comprehensive literature review!)

Here is where the internet and other community resources can be your best friends.

• Know the difference between Google and Google Scholar. Google is helpful for popular mainstream publications whereas Google Scholar focuses only on scholarly references such as articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court opinions that are written by academics and other professional scholars.
• ResearchGATE is an example of a collaborative scientific community that indexes articles. Many times you can find the full text of articles at no charge.
• Check your local community library. They may not have the resources you need but they can often get them through inter-library loan. For example, my local community library does not carry advanced statistics books but the librarians can get them for me via their borrowing privileges with universities.
• Even without access to a specific database, you can search thousands of government sponsored research reports that have been conducted by the U.S. government or one of its affiliates. For example, in completing a literature review of service learning programs, I found a government report that summarized 10 years of research in service learning. (That made my day!)
• Private foundations or research companies may also conduct high-quality peer-reviewed research. For example, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conducts and disseminates research on issues related to health and health care.
• If you know who authored the article, you can sometimes find a pdf file of their article on their website or university website listed under their vita or recent publications.
• Try to contact the author directly. When I have contacted authors, they have graciously sent me a complimentary copy of their article.

Still stuck?  Hire someone who knows how to do a good literature review and has access to quality resources.

On a budget?  Hire a student who has access to an academic library.  Many times students can get credit for working on research and business projects through internships or experiential learning programs. This situation is a win-win.  You get the information you need and the student gets academic credit along with exposure to new ideas and topics.

About the Author: With expertise in human behavior and research, Ursula Saqui, Ph.D. gives clarity and direction to her clients’ projects, which inevitably lead to better results and strategies. She is the founder of Saqui Research.

### The Literature Review: The Foundation of Any Successful Research Project

April 23rd, 2010 by

by Ursula Saqui, Ph.D.

This post is the first of a two-part series on the overall process of doing a literature review.  Part two covers where to find your resources.

Would you build your house without a foundation?  Of course not!  However, many people skip the first step of any empirical-based project–conducting a literature review.  Like the foundation of your house, the literature review is the foundation of your project.

Having a strong literature review gives structure to your research method and informs your statistical analysis.  If your literature review is weak or non-existent, ` (more…)`