Relevance: keep coming back to your research project and think about how and why each material is useful or not for your project. Blaxter et al. If the audience knows more than you do, your purpose is to demonstrate familiarity, expertise, and intelligence with the topic. Life happens. Why do I need a literature review?
What is a literature review? Following Cronon, the racial and class politics of wilderness preservation was a theme taken up by several scholars in the late s and early s, who researched the material effects of conservation politics on indigenous and rural Americans Catton ; Spence ; Jacoby You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.
Your interpretation of each piece of evidence is just that: an interpretation. The US National Park system became the dominant paradigm for analyzing relations between conservation, nationhood and nationalism. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Provide conclusions about those works that make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of your subject. A literature review: situates your research focus within the context of the wider academic community in your field; reports your critical review of the relevant literature; and identifies a gap within that literature that your research will attempt to address. There is a logical flow to your arguments, but there may be a few gaps here and there.
You can find out how many times an article has been cited on Google Scholar—high citation counts mean the article has been influential in the field. The Literature Review connects your ideas to the ideas in your field. What information do you need and how should you organise it?
Is this article helpful? This section of the literature review focuses on the theme of wilderness, while the paragraph itself is organized chronologically. Ways of finding relevant material Electronic sources Searching electronic databases is probably the quickest way to access a lot of material.
Include a broad enough range of viewpoints to demonstrate your grasp of the subject matter. I remembered my passion. Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge? Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. It can also establish a framework within which to present and analyse the findings.
It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism. A critical review It is important that your literature review is more than just a list of references with a short description of each one. You may even want to do both at once. What new insight will you draw from the literature?
First, I felt like I was drowning in information. You may even want to do both at once. There is a logical flow to your arguments, but there may be a few gaps here and there. Why do I need a literature review? How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism.
It was liberating to have a section to put each bucket of data into. You may even want to do both at once. So, how do you tackle a literature review without getting lost? Step 2: Develop a timeline with specific milestones for each section Now you have your outline, and it probably feels great. Selecting and quoting only the most relevant material for your subject and argument. Examples of ways you might structure your literature review are: chronologically; although be careful not just to list items; you need to write critically, not just descriptively; by theme; this is useful if there are several strands within your topic that can logically be considered separately before being brought together; by sector e.
Decisions need to be made about where to focus your reading, and where you can refer briefly to an area but explain why you will not be going into it in more detail. I know that one of the turning points for me in graduate school occurred when I finally had a vision of my table of contents. I alternated between reading and writing until I had about 40 pages of text.
This class was entirely different.
Interpretation You need to be actively involved in interpreting the literature that you are reviewing, and in explaining that interpretation to the reader, rather than just listing what others have written. You need to check what is required within your own discipline. What is critical writing?