You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research. Step 4: Write your literature review Like any other academic text, your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion.
What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review. Introduction The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review. Dissertation literature review If you are writing the literature review as part of your dissertation or thesis, reiterate your central problem or research question and give a brief summary of the scholarly context.
Stand-alone literature review If you are writing a stand-alone paper, give some background on the topic and its importance, discuss the scope of the literature you will review for example, the time period of your sources , and state your objective.
What new insight will you draw from the literature? Body Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.
This paragraph discusses how humanities scholars have approached the concept of wilderness. 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 The Thematic Literature Review This method of data organization is based on grouping different literature sources by their topic and theoretic concept in an order, defined by their relevance and importance.
Many students choose this type of structure. Many people insist that writing a review using this form of organization rather than a chronological one, helps a student make his review stronger because it requires you to analyze topics, theories, and concepts that are vital for your investigation.
It also requires you to include the explanation of why certain sources are linked to each other, which is usually done by means of providing a relevant title to every category. How to choose the right sequence? There is no one specific rule. However, it will be wise to place the categories in a sequence starting from the most significant broad ones to those that are more specific to keep it clear and understandable.
The Chronological Literature Review If you prefer to stick to a chronological method of data organization, you have to list your sources in a chronological order, for example, the date when each source was published. It is not as strong as the previous one. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations.
Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant. But how is a literature review different from an academic research paper? In a research paper, you use the literature as a foundation and as support for a new insight that you contribute. The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.
Why do we write literature reviews? Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone.
For professionals, they are useful reports that keep them up to date with what is current in the field. For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the writer in his or her field. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers.
Who writes these things, anyway? Literature reviews are written occasionally in the humanities, but mostly in the sciences and social sciences; in experiment and lab reports, they constitute a section of the paper. Sometimes a literature review is written as a paper in itself. What should I do before writing the literature review? Clarify If your assignment is not very specific, seek clarification from your instructor: Roughly how many sources should you include?
What types of sources books, journal articles, websites? Should you summarize, synthesize, or critique your sources by discussing a common theme or issue? Should you evaluate your sources? Find models Look for other literature reviews in your area of interest or in the discipline and read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or ways to organize your final review. Narrow your topic There are hundreds or even thousands of articles and books on most areas of study.
The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to get a good survey of the material. Consider whether your sources are current Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. In the sciences, for instance, treatments for medical problems are constantly changing according to the latest studies.
Information even two years old could be obsolete. However, if you are writing a review in the humanities, history, or social sciences, a survey of the history of the literature may be what is needed, because what is important is how perspectives have changed through the years or within a certain time period. Try sorting through some other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects.
You can also use this method to consider what is currently of interest to scholars in this field and what is not. Strategies for writing the literature review Find a focus A literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized. This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together.
Do they present one or different solutions? Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? How well do they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory?
Do they reveal a trend in the field? A raging debate? Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review. Here are a couple of examples: The current trend in treatment for congestive heart failure combines surgery and medicine.
More and more cultural studies scholars are accepting popular media as a subject worthy of academic consideration. Now what is the most effective way of presenting the information?
Rosen, Leonard J. Blaxter et al. The text should consist of three basic components. Rule 9: Include Your Own Relevant Research, but Be Objective In many cases, reviewers of the literature will have published studies relevant to the review they are writing. 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 Mills, M.
As you review the references, remember to be a critical reader see Study Guide What is critical reading? The need to keep a review focused can be problematic for interdisciplinary reviews, where the aim is to bridge the gap between fields . You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research. This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and if applicable show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge. Increasingly, examiners at post-graduate level are looking for the detail of how you chose which evidence you decided to refer to. Critical review of team spirit essay example change on television programmes do you start an essay questions.
Your interpretation medical cv writing service uk the available sources must be writing up with evidence to show that what you are saying is valid. For the sperm whale project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of whales in American, British, and French art work. Thus, the review loses its chronological focus.
References of references If you can find a few really useful sources, it can be a good idea to check through their reference lists to see the range of sources that they referred to. For instance, the sperm whale review could focus on the development of the harpoon for whale hunting. In addition to critical thinking, a literature review needs consistency, for example in the choice of passive vs.
The need to keep a review focused can be problematic for interdisciplinary reviews, where the aim is to bridge the gap between fields . How to write a literature review economics example of apa example. Body Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. How might your research add to this understanding, or challenge existing theories and beliefs? And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant. Select only the most important format in each source to highlight in the review.