Advance Research Methodology Literature Review
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urpose of a Literature Review
The purpose of a literature review is to convey to the reader what knowledge andideas have been established on a topic and what are the strengths and weaknesses.The literature review allows the reader to be brought up to date regarding thestate of research in the field and familiarizes the reader with any contrastingperspectives and viewpoints on the topic. There are good reasons for beginning aliterature review before starting a research paper. These reasons include:
To see what has and has not been investigated.
To develop general explanation for observed variations in a behavior orphenomenon.
To identify potential relationships between concepts and to identifyresearchable hypotheses.
To learn how others have defined and measured key concepts.
To identify data sources that other researches have used.
To develop alternative research projects.
To discover how a research project is related to the work of others.
portance of Literature Review
Research is made in order to inform people with new knowledge or discovery.
owever, it is not to be expected that everybody would willingly believe what youare tackling in your whole research paper. Thus, what you can do to make yourresearch more credible will be to support them with other works which havespoken about the same topic that you have for your research. This is whereliterature review comes in.You can even have literature sources in works such as stories, comments, project,speech, article, novel, poem, essay, program, theory, and others. This is whyliterature review involves scanning the pages of any published literature like books,newspaper, magazine, website, webpage, collection, paper, pamphlet, and the likewhere you may be able to find any reference to the same topic that you areresearching on. This time,
literature·µ does not exclusively refer to the poeticrendition of words, like that of Shakespeare alone.
A review of the literature in a discipline is not the same as an annotated bibliography of sources, though an annotated bibliography can be a type of literature review. The purpose of a lit review is not only to tell your reader the state of scholarship about a given topic, but also to organize and evaluate the major points, parts, or arguments of each source.
From the University of Toronto Writing Centre’s Tips on Conducting the Literature Review:
"A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another. It's usually a bad sign to see every paragraph beginning with the name of a researcher. Instead, organize the literature review into sections that present themes or identify trends, including relevant theory. You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept of your thesis or research question."
A lit review may serve as a stand-alone piece or article. For example, see the Sample Stand-Alone Literature Review with instructor annotations done in APA style. However, more often a lit review is part of a larger research publication: Sample Literature Review within an analytical essay done in MLA style.
What should a literature review include?
Introduction: Explain why this research topic is important. Outline what direction your review will take: i.e., what aspects of the topic you’re focusing on.
Body: Present your summaries and evaluations of the sources in a clear, logical, and coherent manner. Some options for organizing your review include chronological, order of importance, two sides of a controversial problem, differences in perspective or viewpoint. Your review must “read” like a coherent paper, not a list.
Note: Most literature reviews describe only the main findings, relevant methodological issues, and/or major conclusions of other research.
Ensure your final list of references includes all sources you’ve discussed, and use the citation style required in your discipline.
Don’t provide a lot of detail about the procedures used in your sources. Don’t mention every study conducted on the topic. Include only the ones that are most relevant for the purpose and scope of your review.
Plan and organize your literature review
- Define your central problem, issue, or focus (create a research question or thesis statement)
- Consider audience expectations. 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.
- Critically read and annotate your sources with your research question or central issue in mind. Effective annotations
- summarize the “gist” or main ideas of the source
- comment on the source’s usefulness, relevance, methodology, and/or findings in the context of your question or issue
- Do not use a “list-like” approach in drafting your lit review. Rather, organize your information logically to address your research question, thesis, or central issue. For example see the Purdue University OWL Social Work Literature Review Guidelines and the Monash University guide to writing a scientific literature review.
Tip If you’re not sure of the difference between an annotation that describes the source and an annotation that critiques the source, see the examples on the Memorial University Libraries page "How to write annotated bibliographies".
Revise your literature review, keeping in mind these tips for effective writing
- Pay attention to sentence structure
- Use the active and passive voices appropriately
- Reduce or omit wordy, redundant phrases
- Proofread for common punctuation and expression errors
For more about literature reviews, including definitions, protocols and guidelines, search strategies, and managing citations, see the Library's Literature reviews for graduate students.