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Literature Reviews - The Writing Center, Literature review should be

Literature review should be



As part of a thesis, the literature review enables you to demonstrate your knowledge of previous work in your field and to situate your own research in the context of this work .

The literature review may form one or more distinct chapters of the thesis it may also be part of the introductory chapter or be incorporated as background for a number of chapters. How the review is incorporated generally depends on the field of study
A literature review can have a number of purposes within a thesis.

These include:

But it had never been clearly articulated to me what made a literature review good.  In reviewing a journal article recently I discovered what made one bad: one paragraph per study, summarizing the population, methods and findings, with no consolidation or theme.  In effect it was an annotated bibliography, and it was awful (not to mention painful to read).  As my adviser once told me, a literature review should have an argument; a common thread that not only explains what has come before but helps you tell the reader why your work is important and why your conclusions matter.


It is highly advisable to draft a plan of the dissertation. There is a lot in common between different dissertations regarding the structure and although you do not need to stick slavishly to a standard plan, such a plan is very helpful as a template to impose some order on what may seem an unmanageable task. Here is an indicative structure that might help you with your initial plan.

A literature review should be structured like any other essay: it should have an introduction, a middle or main body, and a conclusion.

As Colin Combe points out, "The term literature review  can be applied to both the process of reviewing the literature, as well as the label given to the output of such a process—the 'literature review' chapter(s) or section(s) in a document such as coursework, project, dissertation, or thesis" ( Introduction to Management , 2014).

If you are writing an annotated bibliography , you may need to summarize each item briefly, but should still follow through themes and concepts and do some critical assessment of material. Use an overall introduction and conclusion to state the scope of your coverage and to formulate the question, problem, or concept your chosen material illuminates. Usually you will have the option of grouping items into sections—this helps you indicate comparisons and relationships. You may be able to write a paragraph or so to introduce the focus of each section

When readers come to your assignment, dissertation, or thesis, they will not just assume that your research or analysis is a good idea; they will want to be persuaded that it is relevant and that it was worth doing. They will ask questions such as:

Here’s the main point about a literature review: It is not a paper on a topic. It is a paper on the research about a topic.

In December 1989, Title IX amendments to Public Health Service Act established the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and required AHCPR and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to enter into an agreement to improve information services for health services researchers. As part of this effort, NLM has:

The overall goals of this chapter were firstly to establish the significance of the general field of study, then identify a place where a new contribution could be made. The bulk of the chapter was on critically evaluating the different methodologies used in this field so as to identify the appropriate approach for investigating the research question(s).

These guidelines are adapted primarily from Galvan (2006). Galvan outlines a very clear, step-by-step approach that is very useful to use as you write your review. I have integrated some other tips within this guide, particularly in suggesting different technology tools that you might want to consider in helping you organize your review. In the sections from Step 6-9 what I have included is the outline of those steps exactly as described by Galvan. 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.

Age-related literature problems arise for examiners because having either too much ‘vintage’ OR too much ‘just off the press’ means that the writer is not achieving what literatures work is intended to do – namely :

Wrong! The “literature” of a literature review refers to any collection of materials on a topic, not necessarily the great literary texts of the world. “Literature” could be anything from a set of government pamphlets on British colonial methods in Africa to scholarly articles on the treatment of a torn ACL. And a review does not necessarily mean that your reader wants you to give your personal opinion on whether or not you liked these sources.

What is a literature review? What purpose does it serve in research? What should you expect when writing one? Find out here

Funding: This work was funded by the French Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB) through its Centre for Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity data (CESAB), as part of the NETSEED research project. The funders had no role in the preparation of the manuscript.

Literature reviews are often published as scholarly articles, books, and reports. Here is an example of a recent literature review published as a scholarly journal article:

The conclusion summarizes all the evidence presented and shows its significance. If the review is an introduction to your own research, it highlights gaps and indicates how previous research leads to your own research project and chosen methodology. If the review is a stand-alone assignment for a course, it should suggest any practical applications of the research as well as the implications and possibilities for future research.


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Literature Reviews - University of Kent

Characteristics of an Effective Literature Review - ThoughtCo

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literature review should be
literature review should be

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