Blog: “Ah-Ha” Moments

If you as a prospective researcher have only a vague sense of a problem you want to investigate, a good way to start would be to conduct an overview of the topic.

—Merriam, 2009

As the quotation suggests, literature reviews are often used to further explore a problem within a field. Through conducting a review of the literature, the researcher will gain insight on the topic and then will be able to revise the focus and research questions of the study. For this blog, you reflect on your experience conducting a literature review and consider any insights you gained from your experience.

Post an explanation of your “ah-ha” moment in how literature can help you frame your research question. Then, explain how you might apply your new knowledge in future research experiences.


  • Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., Williams, J. M., Bizup, J. & Fitzgerald, W. T. (2016). The craft of research (4th ed.). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
    • Part V, “Some Last Considerations”
      • “The Ethics of Research” (pp. 271-274)

        This section explores one important consideration every researcher should think of when conducting research—ethics. Also, the section provides strategies for teaching research in academic settings.

  • Machi, L. A., & McEvoy, B. T. (2016). The literature review: Six steps to success (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
    • Chapter 6, “Step Six. Write the Review” (pp. 133-156)

      This chapter explores step 6 of the literature review model, “write the review.” The chapter includes the two tasks associated with this step and provides strategies for completing each task. In addition, the chapter includes an overview of the writing process, information on style manuals, and tips for writing.

The following articles provide examples of well-written literature reviews.

  • Johnson, B., & Reeves, B. (2005). Chapter 2: Challenges (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota. Retrieved from

    This report describes a workshop for helping faculty in higher education transition to teaching online. The report uses research literature to identify challenges in online teaching and to support the decisions made in designing the workshop.

  • Maguire, L. L. (2005). Literature review – Faculty participation in online distance education: Barriers and motivators. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 8(1). Retrieved from

    This literature review analyzes a collection of research studies that focused on factors that motivated or deterred faculty in institutions of higher education from teaching online. This review also suggests further research questions based on the existing studies.

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