Depending on where you are in your studies and what type of course your are doing you may engage with journal articles differently.
Cherry picking - Finding the odd articles which relates to your topic.
Assessing articles - Selecting a number of journal articles and assessing the content and methods of data collection in relation to your wider essay topic.
Literature Reviews - Selecting a number of journal articles and critically assessing the content and methods of data collection. Considering the location of your search and the methods you used to collect your articles. Typing up the information adhering to a specific Literature Review report format.
Systematic Review - Methodically recording every element of your process and in-depth analysing the content of the articles for comparison and further discussion. Typing up the information adhering to a specific Systematic Review report format.
Make sure you know what level is expected of you for your assignment! You do not want to be doing more in depth searching and analysis than in required for your particular assignment.
Both Cherry Picking and Article Reviews are typically found in Essay formats where as Lit Reviews and Systematic Reviews are done at higher levels of study and in Report format.
So what's the main difference?
The main difference is that an essay focuses on a topic, and uses the literature as a support for the arguments. In a literature review, the literature itself is the topic of discussion and evaluation.
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Note Taking is important when reviewing journal articles as it allows you to identify and pull out the key details from the lengthy article for analysis and discussion.
Use the Note Taking Guide and a Journal "top sheet" to support your note taking process.