Introduction to Literature Reviews


Introduction to Literature Reviews



The following module describes the purpose and uses of literature reviews and offers an overview of the process for writing such a review.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the purpose of a literature review and explain how lit reviews are used
  • List the basic steps involved in the process of writing a literature review

 

The following video, Write a Literature Review – Part One, offers an introduction to literature reviews. It describes what a literature review is and what it is not, as well as offers and overview of the process.

 

The following module describes the purpose and uses of literature reviews and offers an overview of the process for writing such a review.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the purpose of a literature review and explain how lit reviews are used
  • List the basic steps involved in the process of writing a literature review

 

The following video, Writing the literature review is an evaluative report of the literature relating to a particular research topic. The literature review is more than just a summary of the current literature. The literature review should describe, summarize, evaluate, and clarify the literature. If done correctly, a literature review should offer a critical analysis of previously published work and in turn, provide the foundation and support additional research in that area. The literature review may be a stand-alone paper, or it may provide the framework for a research study, such as a thesis or a dissertation. The literature reviewed is most commonly journals, scholarly books, and databases. However, it may include newspaper articles, magazines, other books, films, audio, video, and other secondary sources. The purpose of a literature review is to:

  • Establish a framework for the topic or subject
  • Define key words and terminology
  • Identify studies, case studies and models that support the research topic
  • Provide a chronology or progression of the knowledge on the subject
  • Identify and articulate relationships in the research and with the proposed projects
  • May provide a new interpretation of previously published literature
  • Illustrate how the subject has been studied previously (methodology)
  • Highlight flaws in the research and identify gaps
  • Describe where the proposed research will fit in the current body of knowledge
  • Help define and establish the area of research

 

There are several steps to writing a strong literature review. Preparing to write a literature review requires time and effort and a thorough examination of the literature available on the chosen topic. The steps involved in the process are as follows:

  1. Formulate or identify the research topic or field.
  2. Identify the literature that will be searched and begin looking for those sources.
  3. Analyze the literature and critically examine the current body of knowledge on the topic.
  4. Summarize the literature and the relationships that are found among bodies of work.
  5. Synthesize the information and decide on an organizational method for writing the review.
  6. Write the review.

 The following modules in this series will expand on each of these steps and offer more specific information about the literature review process and how to effectively write the review itself.

 

Suggested Readings

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1997). Writing narrative literature reviews. Review of general psychology, 1(3), 311.
Cooper, H. M. (1989). Integrating research: A guide for literature reviews. Sage Publications, Inc.
Cooper, H. M. (1998). Synthesizing research: A guide for literature reviews (Vol. 2). Sage.
Cooper, H. M. (1988). Organizing knowledge syntheses: A taxonomy of literature reviews. Knowledge in Society, 1(1), 104-126.
Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. Sage.
Webster, J., & Watson, R. T. (2002). Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a literature review. Management Information Systems Quarterly, 26(2), 3. rite a Literature Review – Part One, offers an introduction to literature reviews. It describes what a literature review is and what it is not, as well as offers and overview of the process.

 

 


Viewed 11,150 times