Guide To Writing A Literature Review

A poorly executed scientific literature review can destroy a research thesis in four easy steps: It’s not about maximizing the quantity of material reviewed, nor should the objective be to read “everything” about your proposed topic – for some topics that would be a physical impossibility.Focus on the relevance of the material to your proposed topic, and map out a logical framework for analyzing that material.The purpose of a literature review is to provide a review of writings on the given topic in order to establish the reviewer’s own position in the existing field of scholarship on that topic.

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The literature review provides a description, summary and evaluation of each source.

It is usually presented as a distinct section of a graduate thesis or dissertation.

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.

I also provide links at the end of this guide to resources that you should use in order to search the literature and as you write your review.

In addition to using the step-by-step guide that I have provided below, I also recommend that you (a) locate examples of literature reviews in your field of study and skim over these to get a feel for what a literature review is and how these are written (I have also provided links to a couple of examples at the end of these guidelines (b) read over other guides to writing literature reviews so that you see different perspectives and approaches: Some examples are: Read through the links provided below on APA guidelines so that you become familiar with the common core elements of how to write in APA style: in particular, pay attention to general document guidelines (e.g.In short, a literature review shows readers where the reviewer is entering the academic conversation on a particular topic in the context of existing scholarship.The length and depth of your literature review depends on the length of your project.Remember that just having read a dissertation or conference paper doesn’t count – you must critique it – what worked, what didn’t, what would you do differently?Your reader should reach the end of your literature review with a sense of full comprehension as to how your proposed study fits together with the current body of published work: If your reader can’t figure out what you’re doing in relation to what has come before you, your literature review has failed both as a stand-alone piece of academic work and as a building block for your overall study.The purpose of writing a literature review is to establish your authority in your research.Without that established credibility, your research findings are dismissed as nothing but your opinions founded on some basic methodologies.If you are proposing a research topic that has a substantial amount of previously published work already in place, the prospect of delivering a good literature review can seem like a daunting task — so many books and articles with so many citations!You may be tempted to save time by restricting your review to the last decade, but this can be a critical failure point.A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources that provides an overview of a particular topic.Literature reviews are a collection of the most relevant and significant publications regarding that topic in order to provide a comprehensive look at what has been said on the topic and by whom.


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