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The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It

1. It Creates a Rapport with Your Audience

❶Guidance will be available via your own department or school and via the relevant Information Librarian.

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Why do I need a literature review?
What is a literature review?
Ask yourself questions like these:

Otherwise, this is usually perceived as being a little lazy, and it is better to organize the review around ideas and individual points. As a general rule, especially for a longer review, each paragraph should address one point, and present and evaluate all of the available evidence, from all possible differing points of view. Evaluating the credibility of sources is one of the most difficult aspects of a literature review, especially with the ease of finding information on the internet.

The only real way to evaluate is through experience, but there are luckily a few tricks for evaluating information quickly and accurately. There is such a thing as too much information.

Google does not distinguish or judge the quality of results, only how search engine friendly a paper is. This is why it is still good practice to begin research in an academic library. Any journals found there can be regarded as safe and credible. The next stage is to use the internet, and this is where the difficulties begin. It can be helpful to structure your internet research as if it were conducted on paper.

The easiest way is to scan the work, using the abstract and introduction as guides. This helps to eliminate the non-relevant work and also some of the lower quality research. If it sets off alarm bells, there may be something wrong, and the paper is probably of a low quality.

But be very careful not to fall into the trap of rejecting research just because it conflicts with your hypothesis. Failure to do this will completely invalidate the literature review and potentially undermine the research project.

Any research that may be relevant should be moved to the shortlist folder. The next stage is to critically evaluate the paper and decide if the research is sufficient quality. Think about it this way: A smaller number of quality sources is far preferable than a long but irrelevant list.

Check into the credentials of any source which you rely on heavily for the literature review. The reputation of the University or organization is a factor, as is the experience of the researcher.

If their name keeps cropping up, and they have written many papers, the source is probably OK. Good research should have been replicated by other independent researchers, with similar results, showing that the information is fairly safe to use. If the process is proving to be difficult and in some fields like medicine and environmental research, there is a lot of poor science do not be afraid to ask a supervisor for advice. Plagiarism is regarded as a serious offence by all Universities, and you need to make sure that you do not, even accidentally, commit plagiarism.

It can happen accidentally, for example, if you are careless in your note-taking. This can mean that you get mixed up over what is an exact quote, and what you have written in your own words; or over what was an idea of your own that you jotted down, or an idea from some text. This has the advantage that, when you come to use that example in your writing up, you can choose:.

Help is available regarding how to avoid plagiarism and it is worth checking it out. Your department will have its own guidance. It is important to keep control of the reading process, and to keep your research focus in mind.

Rudestam and Newton It is also important to see the writing stage as part of the research process, not something that happens after you have finished reading the literature. Wellington et al Once you are part way through your reading you can have a go at writing the literature review, in anticipation of revising it later on. It is often not until you start explaining something in writing that you find where your argument is weak, and you need to collect more evidence.

A skill that helps in curtailing the reading is: Decisions need to be made about where to focus your reading, and where you can refer briefly to an area but explain why you will not be going into it in more detail. The task of shaping a logical and effective report of a literature review is undeniably challenging.

Some useful guidance on how to approach the writing up is given by Wellington et al In most disciplines, the aim is for the reader to reach the end of the literature review with a clear appreciation of what you are doing; why you are doing it; and how it fits in with other research in your field. Often, the literature review will end with a statement of the research question s.

Having a lot of literature to report on can feel overwhelming. It is important to keep the focus on your study, rather than on the literature Wellington To help you do this, you will need to establish a structure to work to. A good, well-explained structure is also a huge help to the reader. As with any piece of extended writing, structure is crucial. There may be specific guidance on structure within your department, or you may need to devise your own.

Once you have established your structure you need to outline it for your reader. Although you clearly need to write in an academic style, it can be helpful to imagine that you are telling a story.

The thread running through the story is the explanation of why you decided to do the study that you are doing. The story needs to be logical, informative, persuasive, comprehensive and, ideally, interesting. It needs to reach the logical conclusion that your research is a good idea.

If there is a key article or book that is of major importance to the development of your own research ideas, it is important to give extra space to describing and critiquing that piece of literature in more depth.

Similarly, if there are some studies that you will be referring to more than to others, it would be useful to give them a full report and critique at this stage.

As well as using tables to display numerical data, tables can be useful within a literature review when you are comparing other kinds of material. For example, you could use a table to display the key differences between two or more:. The table format can make the comparisons easier to understand than if they were listed within the text.

It can also be a check for yourself that you have identified enough relevant differences. An omission will be more obvious within a table, where it would appear as a blank cell, than it would be within text. Almost all academic writing will need a reference list.

This is a comprehensive list of the full references of sources that you have referred to in your writing. The reader needs to be able to follow up any source you have referred to. A bibliography is not usually necessary or relevant, unless you have been asked to produce one.

This experience is common in PhD study, but it can happen at any level, and can feel as if you have wasted a lot of effort. Looking at this positively, however, you have probably read more widely than you might otherwise have done. That probably confirms that it was a good question to ask! Although this can feel very disappointing at first, it can often be transformed into a benefit. Would you eat its residue left dormant in honey, much less feeding it to your infant?

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It Sharpens Your Research Focus As you assemble outside sources, you will condense, evaluate, synthesize, and paraphrase the gist of outside sources in your own words. Many Different Types Depending on your area of specialization, a literature review can take various forms: An argumentative review is written to present an opposing view to a given position.

This will be valuable to persuade others to join you in supporting your thesis. An integrative review is composed of examinations and critical analysis on a given topic to introduce a need for a new research. For example, you can use it on the spreading of a pandemic plague, arguing how the old methods of gathering and analyzing the data were inadequate and how modern technology, such as DNA analysis, will help make the same research more accurate. Similarly, a historical review will assess all the historical records of scholarship chronologically while methodological review examines the research methods alone—collection of data, their critical analysis, interpretation, and research results, for example.

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A literature review surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in .

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Aug 02,  · A literature review helps you create a sense of rapport with your audience or readers so they can trust that you have done your homework. As a result, they can give you credit for your due diligence: you have done your fact-finding and fact-checking mission, one of the initial steps of any research coachoutleta.cfs:

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A literature review can be a precursor in the introduction of a research paper, or it can be an entire paper in itself, often the first stage of large research projects, allowing the supervisor to ascertain that the student is on the correct path. 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.

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A literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works. What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define? What type of literature review am I conducting? Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research? qualitative research?