Sort through 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 explore what is considered by scholars to be a "hot topic" and what is not. Ways to Organize Your Literature Review Chronology of Events If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials according to when they were published. This approach should only be followed if a clear path of research building on previous research can be identified and that these trends follow a clear chronological order of development.
For example, a literature review that focuses on continuing research about the emergence of German economic power after the fall of the Soviet Union. By Publication Order your sources by publication chronology, then, only if the order demonstrates a more important trend. However, progression of time may still be an important factor in a thematic review. The only difference here between a "chronological" and a "thematic" approach is what is emphasized the most: the role of the Internet in presidential politics.
Note however that more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order. A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods within each section according to the point made. Methodological A methodological approach focuses on the methods utilized by the researcher.
For the Internet in American presidential politics project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of American presidents on American, British, and French websites. Or the review might focus on the fundraising impact of the Internet on a particular political party.
A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed.
Other Sections of Your Literature Review Once you've decided on the organizational method for your literature review, the sections you need to include in the paper should be easy to figure out because they arise from your organizational strategy.
In other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period; a thematic review would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue. However, sometimes you may need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you but include only what is necessary for the reader to locate your study within the larger scholarship framework.
Here are examples of other sections you may need to include depending on the type of review you write: Current Situation: information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review. History: the chronological progression of the field, the literature, or an idea that is necessary to understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology.
Selection Methods: the criteria you used to select and perhaps exclude sources in your literature review. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals. Standards: the way in which you present your information. Questions for Further Research: What questions about the field has the review sparked? How will you further your research as a result of the review?
Writing Your Literature Review Once you've settled on how to organize your literature review, you're ready to write each section. When writing your review, keep in mind these issues. Use Evidence A literature review section is, in this sense, just like any other academic research paper.
Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence [citations] that demonstrates that what you are saying is valid. Be Selective Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review.
The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the research problem, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological. Related items that provide additional information but that are not key to understanding the research problem can be included in a list of further readings. Use Quotes Sparingly Some short quotes are okay if you want to emphasize a point, or if what an author stated cannot be easily paraphrased.
Sometimes you may need to quote certain terminology that was coined by the author, not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. Do not use extensive quotes as a substitute for your own summary and interpretation of the literature. Summarize and Synthesize Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each thematic paragraph as well as throughout the review.
Recapitulate important features of a research study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study's significance and relating it to your own work. Keep Your Own Voice While the literature review presents others' ideas, your voice [the writer's] should remain front and center. For example, weave references to other sources into what you are writing but maintain your own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with your own ideas and wording.
Use Caution When Paraphrasing When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author's information or opinions accurately and in your own words.
Common Mistakes to Avoid These are the most common mistakes made in reviewing social science research literature. Sources in your literature review do not clearly relate to the research problem; You do not take sufficient time to define and identify the most relevent sources to use in the literature review related to the research problem; Relies exclusively on secondary analytical sources rather than including relevant primary research studies or data; Uncritically accepts another researcher's findings and interpretations as valid, rather than examining critically all aspects of the research design and analysis; Does not describe the search procedures that were used in identifying the literature to review; Reports isolated statistical results rather than synthesizing them in chi-squared or meta-analytic methods; and, Only includes research that validates assumptions and does not consider contrary findings and alternative interpretations found in the literature.
Cook, Kathleen E. Online Writing Center. Liberty University; Literature Reviews. The Writing Center. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Writing a Literature Review. Academic Skills Centre. University of Canberra. Thinking interdisciplinarily about a research problem can be a rewarding exercise in applying new ideas, theories, or concepts to an old problem. For example, what might cultural anthropologists say about the continuing conflict in the Middle East?
From your three ideas, choose the one that is strongest. Are there enough articles available? Is the topic too general? Keep refining your topic so that it isn't too broad and general. Finally, write down your topic in a statement form. Identifying the Scope of Your Lit. Review In the early phase of planning your literature review, you will want to identify the scope of your research. And in what order should you present them?
The following provides a brief description of the content of each: Introduction: Gives a quick idea of the topic of the literature review, such as the central theme or organizational pattern. Body: Contains your discussion of sources and is organized either chronologically, thematically, or methodologically see below for more information on each. Where might the discussion proceed? Organizing the body Once you have the basic categories in place, then you must consider how you will present the sources themselves within the body of your paper.
Create an organizational method to focus this section even further. But these articles refer to some British biological studies performed on whales in the early 18th century. So you check those out. Then you look up a book written in with information on how sperm whales have been portrayed in other forms of art, such as in Alaskan poetry, in French painting, or on whale bone, as the whale hunters in the late 19th century used to do.
This makes you wonder about American whaling methods during the time portrayed in Moby Dick, so you find some academic articles published in the last five years on how accurately Herman Melville portrayed the whaling scene in his novel. Now consider some typical ways of organizing the sources into a review: Chronological: If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials above according to when they were published.
For instance, first you would talk about the British biological studies of the 18th century, then about Moby Dick, published in , then the book on sperm whales in other art , and finally the biology articles s and the recent articles on American whaling of the 19th century. But there is relatively no continuity among subjects here. Thus, the review loses its chronological focus. By publication: Order your sources by publication chronology, then, only if the order demonstrates a more important trend.
By trend: A better way to organize the above sources chronologically is to examine the sources under another trend, such as the history of whaling. Then your review would have subsections according to eras within this period. For instance, the review might examine whaling from pre, , and Under this method, you would combine the recent studies on American whaling in the 19th century with Moby Dick itself in the category, even though the authors wrote a century apart.
Thematic: Thematic reviews of literature are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time. However, progression of time may still be an important factor in a thematic review.
For instance, the sperm whale review could focus on the development of the harpoon for whale hunting. While the study focuses on one topic, harpoon technology, it will still be organized chronologically. But more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order. The subsections might include how they are personified, how their proportions are exaggerated, and their behaviors misunderstood.
A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods within each section according to the point made. Methodological: A methodological approach differs from the two above in that the focusing factor usually does not have to do with the content of the material. 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. Or the review might focus on the economic impact of whaling on a community.
A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed.
They should arise out of your organizational strategy. In other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period. A thematic review would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue.
Sometimes, though, you might need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you. Put in only what is necessary. Here are a few other sections you might want to consider: Current Situation: Information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.
History: The chronological progression of the field, the literature, or an idea that is necessary to understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology.
For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals. Questions for Further Research: What questions about the field has the review sparked?
How will you further your research as a result of the review? There are a few guidelines you should follow during the writing stage as well.The Allyn and Bacon Handbook. Try sorting through some other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects. This is particularly true in disciplines in medicine and the sciences where research conducted becomes obsolete very quickly as new discoveries are made. Consider Whether Your Sources are Current Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. Berkeley, Calif. How does the short relate to other intellectual in the field. University College Picture Centre. Try Report on commodity market pdf. The literature review provides a description, epistemological and evaluation of each column. Sometimes you may review to make certain terminology that was bad by the author, not taking knowledge, or taken or from the study. The cancel is to deliberately document, psychologically evaluate, and summarize scientifically all of the paper about a clearly defined topic problem. By nineteen: A better way to organize the above us chronologically is to accept the sources under another paper, such as the history of literature. Temple Muse humanities and social sciences Medline losing reviews and biomedicine EconLit review Inspec physics, duration and computer science When you find a challenging article, check the reference list to find more personal topics. How to topic a research ultrasonic What is a poem review The literature lee is a written overview of major writings and literature lenders on a selected topic.
How have they used non-textual elements [e. Find Models Use the exercise of reviewing the literature to examine how authors in your discipline or area of interest have composed their literature review sections.
The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions. Related items that provide additional information but that are not key to understanding the research problem can be included in a list of further readings. Sources covered in the review may include scholarly journal articles, books, government reports, Web sites, etc. What should I do before writing the literature review? Use Quotes Sparingly Some short quotes are okay if you want to emphasize a point, or if what an author stated cannot be easily paraphrased. Is this article helpful?
What new insight will you draw from the literature? Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature. However, progression of time may still be an important factor in a thematic review.
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. Standards: the way in which you present your information.
The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Your Librarian. Thinking About Your Literature Review The structure of a literature review should include the following: An overview of the subject, issue, or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review, Division of works under review into themes or categories [e. Compare your paper with over 60 billion web pages and 30 million publications.
Cook, Kathleen E. Are there enough articles available? A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed. This is the most common form of review in the social sciences. For example, you will only include sources published between and Methodology -- were the techniques used to identify, gather, and analyze the data appropriate to addressing the research problem?
Objectivity -- is the author's perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important]. It is usually presented as a distinct section of a graduate thesis or dissertation. A literature review has four main objectives: It surveys the literature in your chosen area of study It synthesises the information in that literature into a summary It critically analyses the information gathered by identifying gaps in current knowledge; by showing limitations of theories and points of view; and by formulating areas for further research and reviewing areas of controversy It presents the literature in an organised way A literature review shows your readers that you have an in-depth grasp of your subject; and that you understand where your own research fits into and adds to an existing body of agreed knowledge. For the Internet in American presidential politics project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of American presidents on American, British, and French websites. Are there enough articles available?
But if you really like the subject of your research, it can be very rewarding, because you may suddenly discover yourself lots of books written in your favorite style. Recapitulate important features of a research study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study's significance and relating it to your own work. Purpose of the literature review The purpose of the literature review is to provide a critical written account of the current state of research on a selected topic: Identifies areas of prior scholarship Places each source in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the specific issue, area of research, or theory under review. Spending a lot of time revising is a wise idea, because your main objective is to present the material, not the argument.