Organization is a journey not a destination

A literature review means you'll soon be handling an avalanche of papers - at the very least, personal notes, photocopies, journal reprints, and printed copies of electronic publications. It is essential to have some system in place to deal with all the information that will be converging upon you.

What system is most effective? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The popular press is brimming with suggestions, often coupled with explicit or implicit promises of spectacular life results if one can only become properly organized (for examples, see Aslett, 1996; Bolker, 1998). Seek out such materials if you feel you need motivation, inspiration, or novel approaches, but maintain your perspective. The secret to effective and efficient scientific writing isn't simply in getting organized. It is in wanting to get the job done and committing oneself to do it. However, having a system from the beginning and consistently staying up with it can go a long way to keeping that commitment on track.

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