Print version ISSN 0122-7483
FANDINO-LOZANO, Martha. Scientific literature review in conditions of information excess. Univ. Sci. [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.1, pp. 75-83. ISSN 0122-7483.
Every investigation starts with a review of the state of the art. In the current conditions of information excess, a new methodological problem emerges: how to decide how and what to read. It is impossible to read everything in the time available in the strict research chronograms. The use of advanced search tools, by using keywords that, at the beginning seem to be relevant, results in too many references of uncontrolled quality and, even worse, that do not seem to add new knowledge about the topic of interest; a situation that contradicts the sense of the revision of the scientific literature. This article presents the way this problem was recently solved in a project which aim was to search for concepts and empirical evidence for defining boundaries of conservation areas in such a way that they protect the biodiversity better by preventing the decrease of protected populations. It explains the need to define a filter for making a systematic summary of what was read and describes how the literature review was undertaken; in particular, concerning the search for key concepts, the generation of a refined data base and the criteria used to decide what to read of all the material obtained.
Keywords : databases; review; state of the art; steps to follow.