While writing your thesis or dissertation, your literature review chapter is one of the most crucial sections you will put together. This is an opportunity for you to lay out all of the prior written work on your subject and then explain how it relates to your research, ideas, and opinions. There are some fairly standard rules in place that all good literary reviews follow.
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What Is a Literature Review?
A literature review summarizes the research that has been done on a particular topic. It’s not just a list of sources; it also provides an overview of what others have found and evaluates their work.
Literature reviews can be used in many different ways. They may be used as background reading before you begin your own research, or they may be compiled after you’ve completed your own work to show how your findings fit into the broader picture.
Literature Review Templates
Conducting a thorough literature review is essential for any research project or academic paper. Our Literature Review Templates provide a structured and organized framework to help you effectively review and analyze scholarly articles, books, and other relevant sources. These templates guide you through the process of identifying key research questions, summarizing and synthesizing existing literature, and identifying gaps and areas for further investigation.
With customizable sections and prompts, you can tailor the template to your specific research topic and methodology. Our printable and editable templates save you time and effort, ensuring a comprehensive and well-structured literature review. Whether you’re a student, researcher, or academic, our Literature Review Templates are valuable tools for advancing your knowledge and contributing to the scholarly conversation in your field.
What is the purpose of a literature review?
A literature review aims to provide an overview of relevant research studies on a particular topic. It gives researchers an understanding of what has been done in the field and how research has been conducted on that topic. By reading literature reviews, researchers can identify areas where there are gaps in knowledge and decide what kind of research should be conducted next.
A systematic review (sometimes called a meta-analysis) is a form of critical appraisal that combines several primary studies into one quantitative summary of the overall results across all studies. It can be used to assess the quality and effectiveness of health care interventions such as drugs or surgery or to evaluate environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals or pollutants.
What are the essential elements of a literature review?
The essential elements of a literature review are the following:
The introduction must clearly state what you intend to accomplish in your paper. It should also include an overview of the subject and its importance about your research. In addition, it should provide a brief history of the topic’s development.
The body contains the main arguments or claims that support your thesis. This section should contain specific examples from sources and include a detailed explanation of how these examples support your argument.
The conclusion should summarize your main points and show how they relate to each other; it should also include any final thoughts or comments on how this information relates to other fields or disciplines within your field of study.
In addition to these basic parts, other elements may be appropriate for different types of papers:
For example, if you are writing an annotated bibliography, include an abstract so that readers can quickly find out what they will learn from reading each source in full.
How to Write a Literature Review
In this section, you will learn how to write a literature review.
The literature review is a crucial part of any research project. In fact, the literature review should be the first thing that you do when planning a research project. It will help inform and focus your thinking about what research questions you want to ask and how they relate to existing research.
The first step in writing a literature review is deciding what literature to include in your review. For example, if your project focuses on social policy, you may need to include books written by sociologists and economists and those by political scientists and anthropologists. If your project focuses on psychology, you should include books written by psychologists, neurologists, biologists, and chemists.
Once you have decided what type of material needs to be included in your review, it is time to start reading! The next step is choosing the most relevant sources for your study and then reading them carefully (and perhaps making notes). You can do this in two ways: reading through an entire book or article or just reading sections of articles or chapters that seem relevant. While reading through an entire book or article can take longer than reading just sections of it.
Next, you’re probably already familiar with the APA style. Many academic journals use it to format papers and provide guidelines for presenting references in your work. Once you decide on the type of paper you want to write, consult with your instructor or supervisor about what style they prefer for their courses and publications. You can also learn more about APA style by reading “Using APA Style: A Pocket Guide” (6th edition).
Once you have organized your notes and completed your research, it is time to write the review. The introduction should include a brief overview of the topic, followed by a literature review summary.
What should not be included in a literature review?
The following are some of the things that should not be included in a literature review:
- Personal opinions and views.
- Defamatory statements or derogatory remarks about any person or organization.
- Personal anecdotes and stories.
- Unrelated information to the topic under discussion, such as personal opinions and views on other subjects, jokes, etc.
- Information that is already published elsewhere and, therefore, not original research by the author(s). This includes published articles, books, websites, etc.
How long should a literature review be?
When you’re writing an academic paper, it’s important to include a literature review. Your professor may want you to write your own or use one of the provided templates. Whatever the case, you’ll need to know how long it should be to get it right.
The answer depends on your instructor’s preferences and your own writing style, but most experts suggest a length of about 500-1,000 words. If your professor has given you a specific word count limit, make sure that you adhere to it exactly. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences, including getting a poor grade or even failing for not following instructions.
A literature review is a commentary, not an original work. It is a systematic account of the relevant facts, concepts, principles, and methods found in the topics you are reviewing. Keep your eyes open for the positives and the negatives. However, don’t be overly critical or judgmental. All you really want to do it to draw attention to what findings make the topic relevant to your work.
Along with summarizing some of the most important points of your research question and what your sources say about it, remember to identify any factors that might have contributed to bias in the outcomes of a study if this is relevant to your investigation. Remember there’s no way you can be comprehensive – so don’t even try!
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a comprehensive summary of previous research on a topic. It reviews and synthesizes the current state of knowledge on the subject, identifying key themes, areas of debate, and gaps in the research.
Why is a literature review important?
It provides a foundation for new research, allowing researchers to build on existing knowledge. It also helps to justify the significance of the new study, showing how it contributes to filling the identified gaps or resolving ongoing debates.
What is the structure of a literature review?
A literature review typically has an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. The introduction presents the scope and objectives, the main body discusses the literature thematically or methodologically, and the conclusion summarizes the key findings and suggests directions for future research.
How long should a literature review be?
The length can vary depending on the scope of the topic and the requirements of the project. It could range from a few pages to several dozen pages. It’s important to cover the topic comprehensively while remaining concise and focused.
What types of sources should be included in a literature review?
Sources should be scholarly and relevant to the topic. They may include peer-reviewed journal articles, books, conference papers, theses, and government reports. The inclusion of seminal works and recent publications is crucial.
How do I cite sources in a literature review?
Citations should follow the style guide recommended by your institution or the publication you are submitting to, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago. Ensure consistency in citation style throughout the review.
How can I ensure the quality of my literature review?
Ensuring quality involves a thorough and critical evaluation of the selected literature, coherent organization and synthesis of findings, and clear, concise, and precise writing. Peer feedback and professional editing can also enhance the quality.
What is the difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography lists and briefly summarizes sources, whereas a literature review synthesizes and analyzes the literature, discussing themes, methodologies, and findings, and contributing to the scholarly conversation on the topic.
Can a literature review include my opinion?
A literature review should maintain an objective tone and focus on presenting the existing literature. However, critical analysis and interpretation are encouraged, and you may propose new hypotheses or suggestions for future research based on the reviewed literature.
How is a literature review conducted?
Conducting a literature review involves several steps:
- Identifying and refining a research question or topic.
- Searching for relevant literature using academic databases and other sources.
- Selecting and evaluating the quality and relevance of the sources.
- Organizing and synthesizing the findings.
- Writing the review, often with an introduction, main body, and conclusion.