The purpose of a literature review is to show your audience or your readers that you have adequately read and have a good grasp of the major published materials concerning your research question or topic. a literature review chapter provides an assessment of existing literature and offers a summary, comparison, classification, and evaluation. A literature review for a postgraduate level may be integrated into a thesis, a research report, a dissertation, or an article. However, literature reviews at the undergraduate level may be a separate stand-alone assessment. Generally, a literature review is often in the format of a standard essay comprising of three components, namely, an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Why Do We Write a Literature Review?
One may write a literature review so as to demonstrate ones understanding of the existing literature on a certain topic. You would show your understanding of a topic by assessing and then synthesizing the information to:
- Establish what has already been written about a certain topic.
- Offer an overview of major concepts.
- Establish key patterns or relationships
- Establish strengths and weaknesses
- Establish any gaps within the research
- Establish any form of conflicting or contradicting evidence
- Offer a solid background to the investigation of the research paper
How to Write a Literature Review
- Determine your purpose. Establish what you want to address in your literature review or what you are being requested to do in the literature review.
- Conduct an extensive search of relevant existing literature on your research topic or research question.
- Note the bibliographical details of the literature that you have identified. Noted the title of the publication, name of the author, year of publish, page numbers, and publishers of the material.
- Read the literature that you have identified critically while taking notes and organizing your review with regard to the ideas and themes of your research.
- Critically analyze and evaluate the literature that you have identified. Pay special consideration to the key terms and concepts in the literature, the relevance of the article to your study, the key relationships, patterns, and trends in the literature, the structure of the arguments presented by the author, the credibility of the literature, the differences and similarities between the literature you have identified, and any existing gaps in the literature that necessitate further studies.
- Write a review of the literature. Begin by writing your thesis statement then write the introduction, followed by the body and finally a conclusion.
- Finish the literature review by providing a bibliography or list of references at the end of the research.
- Make sure that you acknowledge the authors of the literature that you use by citing them correctly as you write your review.
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