Literature Review How to write BY Ravit*G1 Article 1 : Writing a Literature Review What is a Literature Review? A literature review is a survey and discussion of the literature in a given area of study. It is a concise overview of what has been studied, argued, and established about a topic, and it is usually organized chronologically or thematically. A literature review is written in essay format. It is not an annotated bibliography, because it groups related works together and discusses trends and developments rather than focusing on one item at a time.
It is not a summary; rather, it evaluates previous and urrent research in regard to how relevant and/or useful it is and how it relates to your own research. A Literature Review is more than an Annotated Bibliography or a summary, because you are organizing and presenting your sources in terms of their overall relationship to your own project. Purpose A literature review is written to highlight specific arguments and ideas in a field of study. By highlighting these arguments, the writer attempts to show what has been studied in the field, and also where the weaknesses, gaps, or areas needing further study are.
The review should therefore also demonstrate to the reader why the riter’s research is useful, necessary, important, and valid. Questions a Literature Review Should Answer: Asking questions such as the following will help you sift through your sources and organize your literature review. Remember, the literature review organizes the previous research in the light of what you are planning to do in your own project. What’s been done in this topic area to date? What are the significant discoveries, key concepts, arguments, and/or theories that scholars have put forward? Which are the important works?
On which particular areas of the topic has previous research oncentrated? Have there been developments over time? What methodologies have been used? Are there any gaps in the research? Are there areas that haven’t been looked at closely yet, but which should be? Are there new ways of looking at the topic? Are there improved methodologies for researching this subject? What future directions should research in this subject take? How will your research build on or depart from current and previous research on the topic? What contribution will your research make to the field?
Length The length ofa literature review varies depending on its purpose and audience. In a hesis or dissertation, the review is usually a full chapter (at least 20 pages), but for an assignment it may only be a few pages. Structure There are several ways to organize and structure a literature review. Two common ways are chronologically and thematically. Chronological: In a chronological review, you will group and discuss your sources in order of their appearance (usually publication), highlighting the changes in research in the field and your specific topic over time.
This method is useful for papers focusing on research methodology, historiographical papers, and other writing where time becomes an important lement. For example, a literature review on theories of mental illness might present how the understanding of mental illness has changed through the centuries, by giving a series of examples of key developments and ending with current theories and the direction your research will take. Thematic: In a thematic review, you will group and discuss your sources in terms of the themes or topics they cover.
This method is often a stronger one organizationally, and it can help you resist the urge to summarize your sources. By grouping themes or topics of research together, you will e able to demonstrate the types of topics that are important to your research. For example, if the topic of the literature review is changes in popular music, then there might be separate sections on research involving the production of music, research on the dissemination of music, research on the interpretation of music, and historical studies of popular music.
No matter which method you choose, remember: Within each section of a literature review, it is important to discuss how the research relates to other studies (how is it similar or different, what other studies have been done, etc. as well as to demonstrate how it relates to your own work. This is what the review is for: don’t leave this connection out! Source : http://www. smu. ca/ administration/library/litrev. html Article 2 : Write a Literature Review 1.
Introduction Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e. g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic. 2. Components Similar to primary research, development of the literature review requires four stages: Problem formulation”which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues?
Literature search”finding materials relevant to the subject being explored Data evaluation”determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic Analysis and interpretation” discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature Literature reviews should comprise the following elements: An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the bjectives of the literature review Division of works under review into categories (e. g. hose in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely) Explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research In assessing each piece, consideration should be given to: Provenance”What are the author’s credentials? Are the author’s arguments supported by evidence (e. . primary historical material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent scientific findings)? Objectivity”ls the author’s perspective even- handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or is certain pertinent information ignored to prove the author’s point? Persuasiveness”Which of the author’s theses are most/least convincing? Value”Are the author’s arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject? 3. Definition and Use/Purpose
A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject. In either case, its purpose is to: Place each work in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the subject under review Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration Identify new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in, previous research Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort Point the way forward for further research
Place one’s original work (in the case ot theses or dissertations) in the context ot existing literature The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary scholarship. http://library. ucsc. edu/help/howto/write-a-literature-review What is a review of the literature? A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment (sometimes in the form of an annotated bibliography”see the bottom of the next page), but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research eport, or thesis.
In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e. g. , your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not Just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas 1 . formation seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual or computerized methods, to identify a set of useful articles and books 2. critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies. A literature review must do these things 1 . be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing 2. synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known 3. identify areas of controversy in the literature 4. ormulate questions that need further research Ask yourself questions like these: . What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define? 2. What type of literature review am I conducting? Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research (e. g. on the effectiveness of a new procedure)? qualitative research (e. g. , studies )? 3. What is the scope of my literature revie w? What types ot publications am I using (e. g. , Journals, books government documents, popular media)?
What discipline am I working in (e. g. , nursing psychology, sociology, medicine)? 4. How good was my information seeking? Has my search been wide enough to ensure I’ve found all the relevant material? Has it been narrow enough to exclude irrelevant material? Is the number of sources I’ve used appropriate for the length of my paper? 5. Have I critically analysed the literature I use? Do I follow through a set of concepts and questions, comparing items to each other in the ways they deal with them?
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