In essence, a literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It illuminates how knowledge has evolved within the field, highlighting what has already been done, what is generally accepted, what is emerging and what is the current state of thinking on the topic. In addition, within research-based texts such as a Doctoral thesis, a literature review identifies a research gap i. However, your literature review does not need to be inclusive of every article and book that has been written on your topic because that will be too broad. Rather, it should include the key sources related to the main debates, trends and gaps in your research area. A review of literature presents much more than a summary of relevant sources.
How to Determine When to Form a Hypothesis: Before or After Literature Research | Pen and the Pad
A Literature Review is a systematic and comprehensive analysis of books, scholarly articles, and other sources relevant to a specific topic providing a base of knowledge on a topic. Literature reviews are designed to identify and critique the existing literature on a topic to justify your research by exposing gaps in current research. This investigation should provide a description, summary, and critical evaluation of works related to the research problem and should also add to the overall knowledge of the topic as well as demonstrating how your research will fit within a larger field of study. This should not be confused with a book review or an annotated bibliography both research tools but very different in purpose and scope. A Literature Review can be a stand-alone element or part of a larger end product, know your assignment. The key to a good Literature Review is to document your process. One of your first steps to starting a Literature Review is to go to the library and meet with a Librarian.
What Is a Literature Review?
The literature review chapter of your dissertation or thesis is where you synthesise this prior work and lay the foundation for your own research. So, what exactly is the purpose of the literature review process? There are at least four core functions:.
Knowing the job that a literature review does means you can be more targeted and systematic in your literature searching. New discoveries don't materialise out of nowhere; they build upon the findings of previous experiments and investigations. A literature review shows how the investigation you are conducting fits with what has gone before and puts it into context. If you are doing a thesis, dissertation, or a long report it is likely that you will need to include a literature review. If you are doing a lab write-up or a shorter report, some background reading may be required to give context to your work, but this is usually included as an analysis in the introduction and discussion sections.