What is a literature review?
A literature review is both a summary and an explanation of the State of the Art on a specific topic, as found in academic books and indexed journal articles
However, it should not be confused with a literature review The latter is more of an archival of information sources that support research work. You can ask nerdpapers for help as they offer paper writing services, write my essay service, literature reviews, and many more.
There are two types of literature review you can write in college, one that is required of students as independent homework in a course, often as part of your research methodology training, and the other that is written as part of the introduction to a longer work, usually a thesis or research article.
The focus and perspective of your review and the type of hypothesis or thesis you define will be determined by the type of review you are developing.
One way to understand the differences between these two types of literature review is to read published bibliographic reviews, or the first chapters of theses and dissertations (chapter 2, theoretical framework) in your own subject area.
Purpose of the literature review
- Give readers easy access to research on a particular topic by selecting high-quality articles,
- Provides an excellent starting point for researchers to begin investigating a new area
- Ensures that researchers do not duplicate work that has already been done
- Can provide various clues as to where future research is heading or either recommend areas to focus on
- Highlight key findings
- Identify inconsistencies, gaps, and contradictions
- Provides a constructive analysis of methodologies and approaches
Main elements of a literature review
It must contain the following basic sections:
The introduction explains the approach and establishes the importance of the topic.
Discuss what kind of work has been done on the issue and identify any controversies within the field or any recent research that has raised questions about previous assumptions.
You can provide background or history. Conclude with a purpose or thesis statement. In an independent literature review, This statement will summarize and evaluate the state of the art in this field of knowledge;
in a review that is an introduction or preparation for a thesis or research report, It will suggest how the findings of the review direct the research the writer intends to initiate.
Often divided by headings/subtitles, the body summarizes and evaluates the current state of knowledge in that field.
Take note of the main themes, the most important trends, and any conclusions that the researchers agree or disagree about.
If the literature review is preliminary to your own thesis or research project, its purpose is to present an argument that justifies its completion.
Therefore, it will only discuss investigations that lead directly to your own project.
The conclusion summarizes all the evidence presented and shows its importance.
If the review is an introduction to your own research, highlight the gaps and indicate how the previous research leads to your own research project and chosen methodology.
If the literature review is an independent task for a course, it should suggest any practical application of the research, as well as the implications and possibilities for future research.