Literature review concept

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Published on February 22, by Shona McCombes. Revised on November 30, A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methodsand gaps in the existing research. Writing a literature review involves finding relevant publications such as books and journal articlescritically analyzing them, and explaining what you found.

There are five key steps:. Table of contents Why write a literature review? When you write a thesis, dissertationor research paperyou will have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:. You might also have to write a literature review as a stand-alone assignment. In this case, the purpose is to evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of scholarly debates around a topic.

The content will look slightly different in each case, but the process of conducting a literature review follows the same steps. Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic. If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions.

If you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone assignment, you will have to choose a focus and develop a central question to direct your search. Unlike a dissertation research question, this question has to be answerable without collecting original data. You should be able to answer it based only on a review of existing publications.

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. You can add to this list if you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search. Use your keywords to begin searching for sources.

Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:. Read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question.

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When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources. To identify the most important publications on your topic, take note of recurring citations. If the same authors, books or articles keep appearing in your reading, make sure to seek them out.

See an example. Make sure the sources you use are credibleand make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research. You can find out how many times an article has been cited on Google Scholar — a high citation count means the article has been influential in the field, and should certainly be included in your literature review.

literature review concept

The scope of your review will depend on your topic and discipline: in the sciences you usually only review recent literature, but in the humanities you might take a long historical perspective for example, to trace how a concept has changed in meaning over time. As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review. It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism.

It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliographywhere you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source.If you are a student from another school, you are welcome to peruse the guide, using the links above, but please know that our librarians can only provide general help to non-BU students. Contact the librarians at your own institution for help in using the resources available to you.

A literature review is a comprehensive summary of previous research on a topic.

Concept Mapping to Write a Literature Review

The literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, and other sources relevant to a particular area of research. The review should enumerate, describe, summarize, objectively evaluate and clarify this previous research. It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you the author determine the nature of your research. The literature review acknowledges the work of previous researchers, and in so doing, assures the reader that your work has been well conceived. It is assumed that by mentioning a previous work in the field of study, that the author has read, evaluated, and assimiliated that work into the work at hand.

This landscape informs the reader that the author has indeed assimilated all or the vast majority of previous, significant works in the field into her or his research. The literature review must be defined by a guiding concept eg. It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries.

literature review concept

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Search Website Search. Literature Review What is a literature review, what is its purpose, and how to do it. What is a literature review? What is its purpose? How to do it! Toggle Dropdown 1. Selecting your topic 2. Setting the topic in context 3. Looking at information sources 4. Using information sources 5. Getting the information 6. Organizing information information management 7. Positioning the literature review 8. Writing the literature review Tips Resources About this guide This research guide was developed for students at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Definition A literature review is a comprehensive summary of previous research on a topic. Machi; Brenda T. M33 3rd floor. Report a problem.A literature review is more than a descriptive list of articles and books. A document that lists and summarizes relevant literature is more akin to an annotated bibliography, but it is not a literature review. Why bother with a literature review? A literature review helps you to find research that is relevant to your work. It may support or challenge an argument you would like to make, provide definitions and context for your work, and suggest data.

Your literature review may also help you design the methodology for your research.

Literature Review

The key to a literature review rests in its organization. The organization of a literature review may vary to suit your goals and to reach the intended audience, but in any event it should be conceptual.

Before you begin, decide on the guiding concepts for your literature review. The guiding concepts framing your discussion may relate to your topic definitions, problem statement, analysis, etc. In determining your guiding concept, think about the intended nature and scope of your study. You could also use the sources to explore definitions i.

Review the following questions before you begin your literature review, and then again when you complete it. Do I have a specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define? Can I state it clearly and concisely? It is a good idea to write a short statement of your topic before searching the literature. You can always revise it later. What is the scope of my literature review?

What types of publications am I using? What discipline am I working in? You may wish to narrow your scope. Have I found enough relevant information? What limitations exist in my information gathering? If significant limitations exist, acknowledge them in the paper.

Is there a specific relationship between the literature I've chosen to review and the problem I've formulated? Have I critically analyzed the literature I use? Do I just list and summarize authors and articles, or do I assess them? Do I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the cited material? Do I find and discuss controversies in the literature? Does my review read well? Does each paragraph fit together? It really a coherent synthesis?

In my introduction, do I state my thesis, problem, or research question clearly? Does my introduction and conclusion fit together? Can I note any issues pertinent to future study? Can I provide some insight. For example, can I draw lessons for public policy from my research problem — whether nonviolent student movements are a factor in regime change?Writing a literature review is perhaps the best piece of literature that a student can work with.

This is because writing a literature review only means that you are already near the end of your final requirement in your student life, which is either a thesis or even a dissertation.

literature review concept

Aside from the purpose of knowing how much you know, literature review writing is primarily aimed at researching and synthesizing previous works and researches done which are related to the field that you are trying to work on. Thus, because of the difficulty in writing these types of essays, here is some literature review writing help from experts at our essays writing service.

Writing a literature review is not easy. There are many traps and pitfalls that any writer could fall on, and thus, here are some of the most important tips in writing a literature review. To further check on other tips and guides, here is one literature review writing guide to help you make that coherent synthesis for your work.

This is crucial especially when creating your own literature review structure because without your topic, you cannot proceed! But again, even before starting to work on your literature review, we need to look at some of the types of literature review to know what topic would fit to the type of methodology which you would be employing later on your work. As compared to other types, the literature review structure of instrumental ones focuses more on the methods used and the tools employed during the study.

These types of literature review is usually used for both qualitative and quantitative works. One of the quickest and easiest way to conduct a literature review, a systematic type of literature review focuses on critically analyzing the works done by previous authors. Now that you already have a coherent topic in mind and knowledge of the different types of literature reviews, the next step is focusing on the structure of a literature review.

Just as any other piece of literature out there, the process of literature review outlining is very important in order to help you gain the momentum to write. An outline for a literature review would also help you in making sure everything in your topic is already covered and all questions which you posed in your introduction is already covered before you finally proceed to the conclusion for your literature review.

When writing the outline of your literature review, any writer should take a note that unlike other papers, the literature review does not usually employ the use of subheadings which other papers use e. This is because literature reviews are usually a part of a bigger paper with an introductory and conclusion part and not a separate paper in itself. Literature review outlining, on the other hand, simply uses the paragraphs in a logical and systematic manner, with which each thesis of the paragraphs works in conjunction with each other to support the main thesis of the article while the succeeding parts of each paragraph works to support the main thesis of a paragraph.

After finishing all of these steps, the literature review introduction marks the beginning but also is the most important parts of your main work. The last part of writing a literature review is the literature review conclusion. This is a thing which any writer should be aware of, because unlike the main conclusion, this part only tackles about the literature review itself and provides an avenue to proceed with the next parts of the paper. And, since we have already discussed the steps in writing a literature review, here is a checklist to help you start writing.

Login Order now. Call Now! Order now. Search for:. Order now! Fill out the order form step-by-step. We need you to be detailed. Get Custom Essay from:. PerfectEssay is a company known online for their long service in providing good offers to write an essay for you and other customers.A literature review summarizes and synthesizes the existing scholarly research on a particular topic.

Literature reviews are a form of academic writing commonly used in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. However, unlike research papers, which establish new arguments and make original contributions, literature reviews organize and present existing research. As a student or academic, you might produce a literature review as a standalone paper or as a portion of a larger research project.

In order to understand literature reviews, it's best to first understand what they are not. First, literature reviews are not bibliographies. A bibliography is a list of resources consulted when researching a particular topic. Second, literature reviews are not subjective. Unlike some of the other well-known "reviews" e. Instead, they summarize and critically assess a body of scholarly literature from a relatively objective perspective.

Writing a literature review is a rigorous process, requiring a thorough evaluation of the quality and findings of each source discussed. Writing a literature review is a time-consuming process that requires extensive research and critical analysis.

While specific style guidelines vary among disciplines, all literature reviews are well-researched and organized. Use the following strategies as a guide as you embark on the writing process.

Writing a literature review takes time, patience, and a whole lot of intellectual energy. As you pore over countless academic articles, consider all the researchers who preceded you and those who will follow. Your literature review is much more than a routine assignment: it's a contribution to the future of your field.

Share Flipboard Email. Olivia Valdes. Education Expert. Olivia Valdes is the senior editor of ThoughtCo and the founder of Zen Admissions, a college admissions advising service. Updated August 05, RoadMonkey graduated with her Ph.

She now uses the research skills she gained in her studies to look at other areas. Writing a literature review is the next task in progressing with my Ph. I have been reading and taking notes and I know, in theory, that my review should bring many aspects of a work together in a smooth and efficient manner. But how?

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This has been worrying me for some time. It's important that each topic fits together, with cross references if necessary, while also ensuring that the essay does not plagiarize someone else's structure. Copying someone's formatting and structure is as much a form of plagiarism as copying their words, which is why it is important to find an organizational method that works for you.

I've found one that works for me. Perhaps it can help you too. While revising a previous paper of mine, I drew out a concept map of what needed to be included. I realised that, with a few additions, the concept map gave me a great structure for my literature review. Even if you are not working on a Ph. I was first introduced to concept mapping through a book by Joseph D. He created the idea of concept maps back inwhen he was working as a children's researcher.

He found that he could teach concept maps to children, even young ones. From this, he realized that while the idea behind concept maps is simple, the ideas you insert into them can be as profound and complex as you wish. First, you need to know what a concept is, and secondly, you need to know how the concepts are linked.

This is pretty simple:.

What Is a Literature Review?

For example, you could write the word "car" inside one box, and write the word "fast" in the box below the first box. The last step is to link them with a line that says "can be. This may seem too simple, but concept maps can be expanded greatly and express very complex sets of relationships. For instance, I've included a link to a concept map about concept maps in the link box below.

The only other important thing to know about drawing a concept map is that you need to start with a question. So, for the example given above, I might have started with the question:. There are many different questions that can be asked, and a concept map can be used to explore the meanings and relationships of limitless concepts, helping you develop a better understanding of what you already know.

I am not going to use my own research for this example, but will create an outline using information about something I have not researched. So, if your research is in this area and I get things wrong, please forgive me. First you need to work out your themes, also known as the subjects that need to be covered, and work out your research questions. If I were writing a literature review on this topic, I would now have my research questions and thus my three major divisions.

I can now take each of these research questions and use a concept map to illustrate the relationships between the various concepts.Usually, a literature review can be described as an objective, concise, and critical summary of published research literature pertinent to the subject being researched in an article.

A literature can be an end in itself an analysis of what is known about a topic or a prologue to and rationale for engaging in primary research. Organize the literature review around key topics of concepts. Use headings or topic sentences to convey your organizational principle. Use a summary to assist the reader to relate every section to the wider topic and to clarify your argument's movement.

Where have we just been and where are we heading to? When writing your literature review, place background information, for example, explanations of a theoretical model or clinical situation, at sections where it will be most helpful for your readers. For instance, if various researchers have utilized a similar theoretical approach, define that framework before reviewing those studies. Split your literature review into segments with appropriate descriptions, following the guidelines of the documentation system you're using.

Your outline provides the basis for this division since it has already clustered studies together under headings and subheadings. Conclude each section in your review with a summary section or paragraph. The summary's length ought to reflect the length of the section. Conclude the whole review with a summary that recaps the most important aspects and findings. This final summary is also the section where you'll make major comparisons, convey your opinion or critique the adequacy of research methods and approaches, and identify inconsistencies.

Your critique enables you to end your literature review by posing unanswered questions, proposing approaches upcoming research. If your literature review is an introduction to your study, your critique ought to support the rationale for carrying out the research.

You'll then state your research question s and hypothesis. It's clear from the research reviewed that evaluative commentary is widely practiced all through composition programs in universities today. Together with this, it's also evident that the field of composition studies in regards to the kinds of commentary that students get on their writing is varied and continues to be examined and analyzed to benefit both composition students and the society at large.

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Moreover, corrective vs. Assuming that you want to compose a literature review concerning the efficiency of short-term group therapy in lowering depression amongst residents of a nursing home. You've now done research and compiled a list of the areas covered by your research:. The outline moves from general to specific. As you proceed down the outline, you'll deal with the material in rising depth, just as the significance of the information to your project rises.

Look at how the following literature review example apa impacts readability: sentence strength, focus, placement of citation, active vs.

Motivation entails various expectations Snappe, ; Krkel, A large study done by Amundson examined the beliefs people entering literacy programs, particularly outcome expectations and self-efficacy regardless of obstacles. Paapeand in a follow-up project Johnsonexamined resistance to motivational efforts or the tendency to overlook information about an issue that's difficult to acknowledge.

A literacy promotion program needs to overcome the inclination to minimize the problem and to assist people to believe. Individuals need to be motivated to make such a decision Smith, ; Jones, ; Brown, Motivation involves at least two types of expectations Snappe, Krakel, One must believe that literacy will positively affect one's life outcome expectations and also one can succeed in the effort to learn new skills regardless of obstacles Amunon, Other research reveals that when the problem isn't easy to acknowledge, people tend to overlook information about, that is, to resist motivational efforts 9Paape, ; Johnson, All these findings suggest that a literacy promotion program needs to overcome the tendency to minimize the problem and to assist people to believe.

Comparing the above literature review example paragraphs ought to demonstrate how some rhetorical choices impact readability and clarity. Use headings and topic sentences to inform readers what the subject is and what point the material is contributing to the discussion.

Do not just point to the existence of literature on the topic; compose about methods or results in the studies you discuss. Your tone should be objective as you summarize the research.

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