How to Update Your Sources

APA Editing
Literature Review

At this point in your dissertation process, you are probably looking at the sources you have collected for your literature review and have noticed a common theme: they are all too old! Your chair has probably mentioned several times (at least) that the majority of your sources need to be current. You may have drafted a substantial portion of your literature review before realizing that your sources are too dated. So how do you fix it without redoing your research, your annotations, or even your literature review itself?

The first thing we would recommend is checking to see how many of your sources have published updates or new editions of the same research. The easiest way to do this is to go to Google Scholar and type in the name of the source or the author(s) and the publication year. If you are able to find your source this way, there will be a link at the bottom of the Google Scholar hit that says “All _ versions.” If you are lucky, there will be the exact same article published within the past five years there. If there is no current publication of your source listed there, you can try typing in the authors’ names in the Google Scholar search bar. It is possible they have published more works in the same field, and may have a more current publication that relates very closely to the one you have used. That would be a suitable replacement for your source.

If you need to replace an outdated book, you can go to Amazon’s website and type in the title of the book in the search bar there. Amazon always has the newest editions of books published, and we have had a lot of luck finding newer editions of books that clients have cited this way.

Finally, and most frustratingly, what do you do if there is no newer publication or edition to the one you have used? We recommend going back to Google Scholar and typing in the information for your source again. Right next to the button that reads “All _ versions” is one that says “Related articles.” If you click on that, Google Scholar will bring up a list of articles with similar keywords to the ones in your original article. You can also click on “Cited by _” to see which researchers have cited that article in their publication. Either of these methods can, with some additional notes and adjustments to your literature review, provide an updated source to replace anything that is too old for use in your dissertation.

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