While conducting a review of the literature, maximize the time you devote to writing this part of your paper by thinking broadly about what you should be looking for and evaluating. No, you are not presenting information that sprang up from the wonders of your own mind, but you should still start and end each paragraph with your own words. If you do include tables as part of your review each must be accompanied by an analysis that summarizes, interprets and synthesizes the literature that you have charted in the table. What further questions does it raise? This is one of the most common problems with student literature reviews. What types of publications am I using e. It can happen accidentally, for example, if you are careless in your note-taking. Important: A literature review is not series of annotations like an annotated bibliography.
Conducting a literature review is usually recursive, meaning that somewhere along the way, you'll find yourself repeating steps out-of-order. Critique the research methodologies used in the studies, and distinguish between assertions the author's opinion and actual research findings derived from empirical evidence. Definition A literature review is both a summary and explanation of the complete and current state of knowledge on a limited topic as found in academic books and journal articles. Common Mistakes to Avoid These are the most common mistakes made in reviewing social science research literature. Often hand searching of journals will reveal ideas about focus, research questions, methods, techniques, or interpretations that had not occurred to you. This approach helps highlight ethical issues which you should be aware of and consider as you go through your own study. 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 report, or thesis.
The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the research problem, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological. Present terminology and viewpoints on the topic in an unbiased and comprehensive manner. The term now encompasses a wide range of web-based sources, in addition to the more traditional books and print journals. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review. Of course, you always have a possibility to assign this task to a company that offers services and get a literature review written by a specialist. Or the review might focus on the fundraising impact of the Internet on a particular political party.
Step-by-step guide These guidelines are adapted primarily from Galvan 2006. Otherwise, this is usually perceived as being a little lazy, and it is better to organize the review around ideas and individual points. You may have read it so many times you can no longer see you lapsed into Portuguese absent-mindedly. If the review was written to stand alone, as is the case of a term paper or a review article for publication, the conclusion needs to make clear how the material in the body of the review has supported the assertion or proposition presented in the introduction. Final Notes: A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another. A good, well-explained structure is also a huge help to the reader. Are you happy for us to contact you in this way? You can have the best of intentions and a form of prose that convinces the staunchest of skeptics, but if your sources aren't viable, that's it.
It could be from five sources at first year undergraduate level to more than fifty for a thesis. The advantage of using Excel is that it enables you to sort your findings according to a variety of factors e. Some short ones are fine, sure, but all in all, it should be written by you. They want to be re-assured that it is a serious paper, not a sales advertisement. If you change your mind at any point, you can simply click the 'unsubscribe' link in any email you receive from us. The literature review is generally in the format of a standard essay made up of three components: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The structure is quite simple and standard for all of such texts, which means that it does not change depending on your subject.
Problem formulation -- which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues? This will help you structure your paper immensely, zeroing in on what will give your paper purpose. Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject? How accurate and valid are the measurements? It needs to reach the logical conclusion that your research is a good idea. Write the Body of the Paper Follow the plan you have developed above, making certain that each section links logically to the one before and after, and that you have divided your sections by themes or subtopics, not by reporting the work of individual theorists or researchers. It is often not until you start explaining something in writing that you find where your argument is weak, and you need to collect more evidence. Related Study Guides are: , , , The focus of the Study Guide is the literature review within a dissertation or a thesis, but many of the ideas are transferable to other kinds of writing, such as an extended essay, or a report. This step requires you to synthesize and make sense of what you read, since these patterns and trends may not be spelled out in the literature, but rather become apparent to you as you review the big picture that has emerged over time.
Your thesis statement will not necessarily argue for a position or an opinion; rather, it will argue for a particular perspective on the material. The rule I follow is to quote only when some key meaning would be lost in translation if I were to paraphrase the original author's words, or if using the original words adds special emphasis to a point that I am making. Your analysis can make generalizations across a majority of studies, but should also note inconsistencies across studies and over time. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review. Or, maybe they did and you were playing Plants vs Zombies. Here again, if the same authors are being cited again and again, this may indicate no new literature has been written on the topic. Usually if you take three or more words directly from another source, you should put those words within quotation marks, and cite the page.
In such a case, the review usually precedes the methodology and results sections of the work. Sort through other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects. When to stop It is important to keep control of the reading process, and to keep your research focus in mind. A narrow-scope literature review may be included as part of a journal article presenting new research, serving to situate the current study within the body of the relevant literature and to provide context for the reader. This approach should only be followed if a clear path of research building on previous research can be identified and that these trends follow a clear chronological order of development. In Hall, Gerard; Longman, Jo.
The process of reviewing the literature requires different kinds of activities and ways of thinking. A literature review is a , which includes the current knowledge including substantive findings, as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic. The number of sources that you will be required to review will depend on what the literature review is for and how advanced you are in your studies. Be consistent in how you record notes. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. Literature reviews are designed to provide an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic and to demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within a larger field of study.
The next stage is to use the internet, and this is where the difficulties begin. Go back over your work and rephrase whatever was left ambiguous or wordy. Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with? Be Selective Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. This is particularly true in disciplines in medicine and the sciences where research conducted becomes obsolete very quickly as new discoveries are made. It was found that physical structures, such as standardized furniture, heating that could not be individually regulated, and no possession of a house key for residents limited their feelings of independence.