Generally, Literature reviews are surveys of scholar sources on a particular topic. These literature reviews provides a general idea of the current knowledge that allows us to ascertain some relevant methodologies, research gaps as well as some theories in state-of-art researches. Writing Literature reviews involves identifying the relevant publications like journal articles and books, predominantly examining them as well as to explain what have we found. Moreover, a good Literature review dose not summarize the taken sources, it also synthesizes, evaluates and critically analyse that results in providing a clear picture about the subject.
Why do we write literature reviews?
When writing a research paper or thesis, we have to include literature reviews for situation our researches with the state-of-art knowledge. Further, these reviews may give us a chance to establish our understandings in the topics and the context, to create a methodology and a theoretical framework for our research, to position ourselves in accordance with other theorists and researchers, and to represent how our research discourses a gap.
Here are some key tips that will help you to write a successful literature review
Search appropriate literatures
Before starting your literature, you must be very clear in your topic. You have to go through your research topics, identify its problems, gap and also must search relevant research papers that deals with the similar problems and find a way to overcome it. If the literature review was stand alone assignment, then you have to focus as well as develop some questions in accordance to the search. Unlike thesis research questions, these questions must be answerable without gathering the original data. Additionally, it can be answerable only on the basis of the state-of-art publications.
Create keyword list
Developing keyword list in accordance with the research questions is very important. Including every key variables or key concepts will help us in choosing research contents. Further, when identifying new words, you can add to the list that can add on to the literatures.
Estimate and select the sources
It seems to be difficult to read everything in a topic, instead we can estimate the relevant sources to our questions. Moreover, for every publications, the questions need to be asked are,
- What question does the author mention?
- How are the key concepts defined?
- What is the method, model and key theory?
- Is the researcher using existing methodologies or approaches novelty?
- What is the conclusion of the study?
- What is the result of the study?
- What is the strength and the weakness of study?
Assure that the sources are credible, and it is essential to read the landmark studies as well as some major theories in the research field. Additionally, in Google Scholar, we can identify the most influential articles in the research field through the number of times cited. And also, more influential researches must be included in our literature reviews.
The review scope is dependent upon the topic and the discipline. According to the science, we generally review the recent papers, but in the topic if humanities, we might review papers according to the historical perspectives.
Cite the sources and take some notes:
As we are reading reviews, we must start our writing process also. Furthermore, taking notes will help us in incorporating it later in literature review. Also, it is very essential to track our sources with appropriate citations. Following these appropriate citations will be useful for making annotated bibliographies, where we can compile the complete citations and also can make summary. This actually helps us in remembering what we read, that saves more time.
Identify the theme, gap and debate
In order to start organizing the structure and argument of Literature review, it is essential to understand and study the connections as well as the relationship of the source. Based on the reading patterns, we can look refer the following.
- Patterns and trends
- Pivotal publications
These steps will assist us to structure our literature review and also will help the research to contribute to the state-of-art knowledge.
If we draw our sources from diverse disciplines that use various research methodologies, we need to compare the conclusions as well as the results that raise from various approaches. For instance,
- Check whether the outcomes are qualitative or else quantitative.
- Check whether the approached topics are theoretical or empirical.
- Separate the literatures in cultural, historical and sociological sources.’
Literature reviews are the foundation for theoretical frameworks. These literatures can be used for discussing several theories, definitions as well as models of the concepts. Also, we can even combine several theoretical concepts for creating frameworks for our researches.
Write the literature review
Like every academic texts, our literature reviews must have introduction, main part and conclusion. The inclusions may depend upon the respective objective.
Introduction part of the literature review must clearly explain the focus as well as the purpose of the review.
The Main part
Main part of the literature review must explain in detail about the objective of the study. Then it must explain about the description and the methodology of the study. Then, it must explain about the results of the study. At last, it must explain about the conclusion and also the future work and limitations.
Conclusion of the literature review must explain about the existing limitations in the written surveys and also find a way to overcome in the present study.
To make our reviews more focused, we must choose appropriate papers that are recently published. This will not make the paper to look old. Also, we must always choose high standard journal papers, so that the paper looks much standardized. More importantly, usage of proper keywords will help the paper to shine even more. We, the Elysisans from PHD I ZONE, follow these tips for writing a success literature review.