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writing a literature review

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 essay on order of operations 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 college application essay service greatest 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. It is important that your research fits logically within the existing research in your area, and you may have found an ideal study to link with and to extend in some way.

Remember that:. Firstly, this is unlikely. Perhaps if you modify your search strategy you will find something. Check out whether there is an important reason why the research has not been done, which would make it sensible for you to choose a different focus.

If you do decide to go ahead, then take extra care designing your research, in the absence of guidance from previous studies.

Ploughing a little-known furrow as a novice researcher is going to be very difficult, and you may find it difficult to get much support or help.

writing a literature review

An important aspect of your thesis and your viva, is that you can show how your research fits with other research. This will be just as important when there is limited existing research in your area, as when there is an abundance. Once you have a first draft of your literature review it is possible for you to assess how well you have achieved your aims.

Doing a literature review

One way of doing this is to examine each paragraph in turn, and to write in the margin a very brief summary of the content, and the type of content e. These summaries then provide the outline of the story you are telling, and the way that you are telling it.

writing a literature review

Both of these are important and need to be critically reviewed. Beware of becoming too attached to your writing. You need to be ready to cross out whole paragraphs or even whole sections if they do not pass the above tests. It may be mainly a case of cutting and pasting material into a different order, with some additional explanation and linking. If this produces a more relevant and streamlined argument it is research papers in satellite communication worth the effort.

Blaxter L. Open University. Merriam S. San Francisco, CA: Taylor D. Health Services Writing Centre: University of Toronto. Wellington J. Personal tools Web Editor Log in. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions to improve these guidelines please me at e-mail hrallis d. Last updated: April 19, [Note: For these guidelines, in some sections I have quoted directly some of the the steps from: Galvan, J. Writing literature reviews: Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.

If your assignment is not very specific, seek clarification from your instructor: Look for other literature reviews in your area of interest or in the discipline and read them to get a sense of the custom admissions essay of themes you might want to look for in your own research or ways to organize your final review. There are hundreds or even thousands of articles and books on most areas of study.

The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to get a good survey of the material. Ask your professor questions such as: Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible.

In the sciences, for instance, treatments for medical problems are constantly changing according to the latest studies. Information even two years old could be obsolete. However, if you are writing a review in the humanities, history, or social sciences, a survey of the history of the literature may be what is needed, because what is important is how perspectives have changed through the years or within a certain time period.

writing a literature review

Try sorting through some 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 consider what is currently of interest to scholars in this field and what is not. A literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized.

This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together. Do they present one or different solutions? Is there an aspect of the field that is missing?

How well essay on the custom house they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory? Do they reveal a trend in the field?

A raging debate? Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review.

Writing a literature review

Here are a couple of examples:. Now what is the most effective way of presenting the information? What are the most important topics, subtopics, etc.

And in what order should you present them? Develop an organization for your review at both a global and local level:. Just like most academic papers, literature reviews also must contain at least three basic elements: The following provides a brief description of the content of each: 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. To help you come up with an overall organizational framework for your review, consider the following scenario:. But these articles refer to some British biological studies performed on whales in the early 18th century.

So you check those out.

A literature review is a critical analysis of published sources, or literature, on a particular topic.

writing a literature review

It is an assessment of the literature and provides a summary, classification, comparison and evaluation. At postgraduate level literature reviews can be incorporated into an article, writing a literature review research report or thesis.

writing a literature review

At undergraduate level literature reviews can be a separate stand alone assessment. The literature review is generally in the format of a standard essay made up of three components:

writing a literature review

Writing a literature review