What is a literature review?
A literature review, also called a narrative review, is a summary of a published book on a specific topic. It is often found in journals and the introduction of scholarly writings. They are used to add merit to research. For instance, if you are writing about cars and why they stop running. You would research articles and books on that topic. You would then compile a list of references that you plan to use in your research. Lastly, you would analyze the work of each text.
- What is a literature review?
- What is the most important type of information that should be included in the review?
- 3 steps to develop a review:
- What is the difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography?
- Ways of finding relevant material
- Benefits of a useful review:
- How long does it take to do the review?
What is the most important type of information that should be included in the review?
When writing a literature review, you will only want to include research that is helpful to your research. This doesn't mean that all of the research has to agree with the point you are proving. It merely means that if you are trying to determine why cars stop working that you aren't going to include references for material that discusses trains.
There are a few steps you can use to help ensure that you are aware of other research in the field of study that you are researching. You should become familiar with scientific information on the topic you are researching, you must understand the subject and its major concepts, and you must place your research in context.
Having an excellent literature review takes work. But, no worries. If you plan and organize your material, you can write a great review in less time than you think. You can't just throw all your research together and hope that it turns into a literature review. You will want to start with a transparent approach that will lead to a well-developed literature review.
3 steps to develop a review:
First, you must form your problem or question. Next, you should thoroughly research material about your issue or question once you have the right amount of research. You will begin analyzing the study. A lot goes into a literature review, and it can be hard to know what to include in your review.
You should include the following elements:
- The subject, problem, or theory.
- You should also list the objectives.
- You should divide your research into categories: supporting and against your argument.
- You must explain the similarities that each work has in stock, as well as how each one is different from the others.
- A conclusion is needed that states which theories are considered in their argument. List some of their most convincing evidence that supports their research. You should also mention the ideas that support and make the most significant contribution to their work.
While you are assessing each work consideration should be given to:
- How credible is the author?— The credentials of the author are essential. Do the author's arguments support other evidence or are their arguments supported by the research of others. For instance, do case studies, narratives, or statistics support their findings?
- How objective is the author?— Is the author's perspective one-sided? Does it appear that the author leans to one side or leaves out vital information to prove their point?
- How persuasive is the author?— Which author has the most convincing thesis? Which author has the least compelling thesis?
- How convincing is the author?— Does the author use persuasive arguments and conclusions in their writing? Does the author's work lead to an understanding of the subject at hand? Does their research have any significance or contribute to the field of study?
Areas of research:
It is easy to broaden your search so much that you end up with material that doesn't have much to do with your writing. You will also come across exciting books in other areas. Fight off the temptation. You can always use them later.
For now, concentrate on the task before you and put all of your reading into research that will assist you in discussing your topic, question, or theory. You have to decide what areas you are going to research. And stay focused on material that will help you in fulfilling that research.
Clarify your project details
Your research is of utmost importance, and you will want to make sure you have all of your facts straight. You will definitely want to be clear about what your assignment is and what your professor expects from you. So, If your task is not very specific, you may want to ask your professor some of these questions:
- How many sources do you need?
- What types of sources (books, journal articles, websites)?
- Should there be a common theme?
Plan your review's structure
While there are many ways to organize the body of a literature review. It is always a good idea for you to have a rough idea of your strategy before you start writing. You may choose to use just one of these strategies, or you may use a combination of the plan. It all depends on the length of your literature review.
Let's begin with the most straightforward approach. In this approach, you track the development of the topic over time. If you use this approach, you will want to be sure not to make the mistake of just listing and summarizing your sources in order without analyzing.
It is essential for you to analyze the material and how it has shaped the direction of your field of study. Also, don't forget to give your interpretation of how and why developments incurred in your work.
If your sources come from different fields of study or use a variety of different research methods, you may want to use the methodological approach. This approach will help you to organize your ideas. It will also help you to plan and concisely validate your research.
Just like the name indicates, the methodological approach uses more of a systematic approach to writing your review. Using this approach will make your paper seem planned and well thought out.
A literature review is naturally an excellent framework for a conceptual approach. This approach concentrates on statistics and models. You will want to use this approach if you have lots of statistics and models, including in your research.
What is the difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography cites sources and gives a brief evaluation of each source. A literature review is an overview of researched material, content, and findings of the researcher using materials that have been written by other researchers. What is the purpose of a literature review?
Let's face it; you are probably not the first person to write about the subject matter you have chosen. The chances are that many people before you wrote about the topic, and many after you will write about the topic.
Since you know this, it is really in your best interest to check out what others have written on your topic of choice. This is not only good for your research. But, it shows others that you are not arrogant enough to think no one has ever had an idea as high as yours. Also, If you don't find a lot of research, it may show you that you should maybe pick another topic to write about or broaden your item.
A literature review will help you to see what has and has not been investigated about the topic you are researching. It will help you find data that other researchers have used in their writings.
A literature review will give you insight into how others have defined and measured the concepts that you are researching. It can help you to brainstorm for ideas. Using good quality sources that support your writing will add to the validity of your writing. So writing an excellent literature review with relevant material is a win-win.
Ways of finding relevant material
Electronic sources are an excellent way for you to conduct research. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when searching for content online.
You should use the right keywords when doing your search. If you enclose your keywords or phrases in double quotation marks, this will limit your search to only essential keywords or phrases that you choose.
However, It can also benefit you to broaden your search. Increasing your search will help you to find relevant material that pertains to your subject area. If you fail to expand your search, you risk not finding enough quality sources for your work.
References for references
I know this sounds kind of strange, but researching the references or your references can be very beneficial to your research. When you check the citations of the recommendations that you are using, it will lead you to the study they used in their writing. This will lead you to information that you may have missed in your initial research.
Building on the references you have already gathered will help you greatly in your study. It will save you time because you have already researched your references, and the material is right at your fingertips. It is easy just to do this type of search online, but please don't forget about actually looking through journals. They can be a great resource.
Hand searching of journals
There is just something about holding a book in your hand. Flipping through the pages or journals can be an asset to the research of your topic: Let's face it, sometimes an internet search can bring up lots of unwanted materials. You may be surprised how useful journals can be when researching your topic.
The table of contents is quite helpful and can speed up your search. Often times, key ideas can be discovered through journals that you may have never thought of if you only used electronic sources. And journals are full of relevant articles that can be used in your research.
Benefits of a useful review:
Through research that is up to date, you decrease the likelihood that your research could be missing crucial vital information. By researching writings from others on your subject matter, you will keep yourself from getting too far into the left field. When researching what others have written, you are more likely to stay on point in your work. Most importantly, It will put your writing into perspective and help you find evidence to support your findings.
How long does it take to do the review?
There is no way to determine precisely how long it will take to do a literature review. For instance, I am a slow writer. I think and process and remember and process some more. My husband, on the other hand, is straight to the point. He is just a lot quicker in his writing, then I am. So, while it would be impossible to figure out exactly how long it will take you to write a literature review.
If your paper is going to be fifteen pages, then your literature review should be around three pages. Since the literature review will be used in your writing, and it is part of your research, it will probably take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete.
The review is not...
A literature review is not a book report. Many people confuse a literature review with a book report. Please don't do this. They are entirely different, and I'm sure if your professor asked for a literature review, that is what they want. Secondly, it is not merely a descriptive list of your references or an annotation.
While it would be easier to just describe the research of your recommendations, if you do that, it will not be a literature review. And, again, your professor will not be happy with an annotation. Lastly, and most importantly, it is not your opinion. A literature review should be based on facts and research, not advice.
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