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- How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes .
What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .
There are five key steps to writing a literature review:
- Search for relevant literature
- Evaluate sources
- Identify themes, debates, and gaps
- Outline the structure
- Write your literature review
A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.
Table of contents
What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, frequently asked questions, introduction.
- Quick Run-through
- Step 1 & 2
When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:
- Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
- Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
- Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
- Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
- Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.
Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.
Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.
- Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
- Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
- Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
- Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)
You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.
Download Word doc Download Google doc
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Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .
If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .
Make a list of keywords
Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.
- Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
- Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
- Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth
Search for relevant sources
Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:
- Your university’s library catalogue
- Google Scholar
- Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
- Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
- EconLit (economics)
- Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)
You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.
Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.
You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.
For each publication, ask yourself:
- What question or problem is the author addressing?
- What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
- What are the key theories, models, and methods?
- Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
- What are the results and conclusions of the study?
- How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?
Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.
You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.
Take notes and cite your sources
As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.
It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.
To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:
- Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
- Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
- Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
- Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
- Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?
This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.
- Most research has focused on young women.
- There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
- But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.
There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).
The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.
Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.
If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.
For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.
If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:
- Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
- Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources
A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.
You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.
Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.
The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.
Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.
As you write, you can follow these tips:
- Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts
In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.
When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !
This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.
Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.
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A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .
It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.
There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:
- To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
- To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
- To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
- To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
- To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic
Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.
The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .
A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .
An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a paper .
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Literature Review versus Literature Survey. What is the difference?
I have read several articles about literature reviews. At the same time I found some guides about literature surveys . I am confused... how is a literature survey different from a literature review? What is the standard procedure to conduct a literature survey without making it a literature review?
- 2 Welcome to Academia.SE. You have a couple of different questions in your post. We encourage multiple posts for multiple questions. See our tour and help center pages. Your questions about literature surveys and reviews are closely related and match the title. You should make a second post about how to pursue research given your background, since that it unrelated. – Ben Norris Dec 26, 2013 at 14:11
2 Answers 2
Reviewing the literature relevant to a given field is a standard part of doing research, as this serves to put your work into the context of the larger discipline in which you are working.
If there is an actual difference between the "literature survey" and the "literature review," it's that the latter can serve as a paper in and of itself, and is much more extensive than a literature survey, which is typically a major part of the introduction of a research paper.
The literature review as a standalone article could be compared to a "curated" overview of the literature in the field—who has done what, how do papers relate to one another, and what are the most important present and (possibly) future directions of work in such a field. Such papers can also be considerably longer than a traditional research paper, and some reviews might cite as many as a thousand references!
In comparison, the literature survey of a standard research article is usually much shorter (1-2 journal pages), and will not cite nearly as many papers (anywhere from 10 to 100, depending on the topic and the amount of relevant literature available).
- 2 Hi thanks for your comment. But I m still confused. I have seen survey papers are published and I have seen literature review sections in thesis. I mean aren't survey papers related to computer science are literature reviews ? – Npn Jan 1, 2014 at 14:51
- 3 In general, "review paper" is much more commonly used than "survey paper." Maybe CS prefers "survey paper," but essentially, there's no substantial difference between them. But every paper includes some sort of synopsis of existing literature; in a review or survey paper, it's the entire paper. – aeismail Jan 1, 2014 at 15:12
- Thanks ,I understood that review papers should be read to do a research. – Npn Jan 1, 2014 at 15:30
Well, I have written couple of survery/review articles published in prestigious journals here , here , and here and hence I think I can give you some hint on this question.
First View: One of the most important things to consider is that, these terms have been used differently in varied academic disciplines and even in some cases they are used interchangeably with negligible differences. Even in CS (my field), the way image processing scholars look at these terms may be different from networking researchers (I once experienced the comments I received from experts in image processing and realize how different they look at the works). So it might not be wrong if consider insignificant differences between these two terms.
What I describe here may be more applicable to CS. There are two different views at these terms that I describe here
Technically a feasible description around these two terms is that in survey works you should review the published papers and analyze, summarize, organize, and present findings in a novel way that can generate an original view to a certain aspect of the domain. For example, if researchers review the available research findings and conclude that electrical cars are emission-free vehicles, another researcher can review the same results and present an argument that building batteries themselves produce huge emission. The second contribution opens door for new research around emission-free production of car batteries. If we consider that survey paper is the result of literature survey, we can use the following definitions from CS journals.
- According to the definition of survey paper provided by IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials journal (one of the best CS journals), " The term survey, as applied here, is defined to mean a survey of the literature. A survey article should provide a comprehensive review of developments in a selected area ".
- In ACM Computing Survey (another prestigious CS journal), survey paper is described as “A paper that summarizes and organizes recent research results in a novel way that integrates and adds understanding to work in the field. A survey article emphasizes the classification of the existing literature, developing a perspective on the area, and evaluating trends.”
- In Elsevier journal of Computer Science Review, you will see here 4 that “Critical review of the relevant literature“ is required a component of every typical survey paper.
To summarize, these two terms can be distinguished using following notes (or maybe definitions)
Literature Survey: Is the process of analyzing, summarizing, organizing, and presenting novel conclusions from the results of technical review of large number of recently published scholarly articles. The results of the literature survey can contribute to the body of knowledge when peer-reviewed and published as survey articles
Literature Review: Is the process of technically and critically reviewing published papers to extract technical and scientific metadata from the presented contents. The metadata are usually used during literature survey to technically compare different but relevant works and draw conclusions on weaknesses and strengths of the works.
Second View: The second view over literature survey and review is that in survey, researchers usually utilize the author-provided contents available in the published works to qualitatively analyze and compare them with other related works. While in the former, you should not perform qualitative analysis. Rather it should be quantitative meaning that every research work under study should be implemented and benchmarked under certain criteria. The results of this benchmarking study can be used to compare them together and criticize or appreciate the works.
So basically you can look at current literature and find which approach is dominating in your field. Hope it helps. I try to revise it if I came a cross other points or useful comments here.
- 3 Up vote for Comprehensive answer. – user3135645 Dec 28, 2013 at 5:57
- 3 Nice answer (+1). I agree with you that the difference between the two terms is non-essential and preference in terminology depends mostly on the research discipline (field) and journal editors' preferences. Having said that, your distinction between the terms seems artificial, meaning that I don't see core logic that prevents applying both definitions to the opposite terms (unless I've missed some points). Also, I wanted to add that more accurate definitions should mention that literature survey or literature review is each both a process and an artifact , resulting from that process. – Aleksandr Blekh May 8, 2015 at 3:50
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How to Do a Literature Review
Last Updated: March 3, 2023 References Approved
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 11 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 90% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 313,312 times. Learn more...
Some people might think of a literature review as reading a book and then giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down. Nope, not so. A literature review is a review of various pieces of literature on one topic, ranging from series of books to shorter pieces like pamphlets. Sometimes, the literary review is a part of a larger research paper. Its purpose is to prevent duplication of efforts, resolve conflicts, and point the way for further research.
- How many sources should you include? Does he/she want a specific number of each type? Do they have to be at least semi-current?
- In discussing your themes, are you just summarizing or critiquing? Some reviews require a thesis, some may not.
- Should you offer your opinion on your sources?
- Do you need to provide background information, such as definitions or histories, to aid in your audience's understanding?
- Is there a page or word requirement?
- Get current. If you are writing a review in the humanities, history, or social sciences, you can afford to be less concerned with timing (in fact, changing opinions throughout history may be an aspect of your paper). But if you are writing a literary review for the sciences, say, on treating diabetes, information from 5 years ago could already be obsolete. Sort through current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
- Read between the lines. You're not necessarily looking for explicit content. Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? Are your sources all prescribing to one specific theory? Do you see trends being revealed? This will help you structure your paper immensely, zeroing in on what will give your paper purpose.
- For example, "Current trends in [topic] are A, B, and C," or "The X Theory is assumed by most sources from 1985 on." Stating something like this begs a few questions, making your review more interesting and meaningful: How will trends change in the future? What if the assumed theories are wrong?
- Again, this is not new information. You are not analyzing the material and coming up with your own, fresh perspective on it. You are simply acting like a computer--noting patterns, holes, and assumptions all your sources are taking.
- What are the author's credentials? How are their arguments supported (narratives, statistics, historical findings, etc.)?
- Is the author's perspective unbiased and objective? Are they ignoring any data to make their points seem stronger?
- How persuasive are they? Do any of their points leave a bit to be desired?
- Does their work lead to a greater understanding of the subject?  X Research source
Constructing Your Paper
- Help the reader along by letting them know what kind of ride they're in for. If you are employing a thesis statement, place it toward the end of your introductory paragraph. At the end, your reader should be anticipating getting into the evidence and bulk of your paper.
- Arrange it chronologically. If you are dealing with varying opinions by era or changing trends over time, chronological organization may make the most sense.
- Arrange it by publication. This organizational method fares well if each publication has a different stance. If there is a natural progression (radical to conservative, for example) between the sources, this works swimmingly.
- Arrange it by trend. If you are noticing patterns in your sources, arranging them by the trends they suggest may be the most obvious structure. Certain sources may, together, suggest one pattern that shifts over time, region, or other variable.
- Arrange it thematically. This highly depends on your thesis statement and what sources you have chosen. If you are choosing a focus that is more abstract ("Colonialism is depicted as evil," for example), the subsections may be arranged on the different methods employed to put the theme across.
- You may make your conclusion suggestive. Where might the discussion proceed if someone else picked it up where you left off? What are the consequences of the patterns and holes in today's sources?
- However, use quotes sparingly. The survey nature of the literature review does not allow for in-depth discussion or detailed quotes from the text.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source Some short ones are fine, sure, but all in all, it should be written by you.
- When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author’s information or opinions accurately and in your own words.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source Then, relate it to the context of your review.
- Some professors may require that you evaluate the sources and conclude which pieces add the greatest contribution to the field. If yours is keen on this, determine your take in the introduction and string it throughout your paper.
Revising Your Work
- Does your instructor require APA formatting? What should your margins be? Headers, footers, footnotes, and page numbers? How do they want your name, headings, and subheadings? How do they want your works cited page?
- With everything said as clear as day, does it flow together? Do you transition well not only from paragraph to paragraph, but from sentence to sentence? Be sure your evidence lines up with the support and your arrangement of sources flows logically.
- Eliminate useless jargon or slang. You may have grown an entirely new vocabulary during this endeavor, but your professor has not. Write a paper that can be read by the masses. Don't make it overly esoteric.
- It's best to have someone else go over your work, too. You may have read it so many times you can no longer see you lapsed into Portuguese absent-mindedly. A different set of eyes can locate mistakes you may not have seen, ask questions you didn't realize were left unaddressed, or seek clarification on the foggier points.
- Use correct citations. Your assignment will likely specify what kinds of formats you should use for citations within the text. Often, professors are looking for strict use of these formats as part of the grade. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Outline your literature review. It will help you order your thoughts into an organized presentation, making the paper ultimately easier to write. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Avoid plagiarism. Using your own words will help you avoid plagiarism, which many academic departments take very seriously. Evidence of plagiarism can get students suspended or otherwise disciplined (this includes a failing paper). Make sure to correctly attribute any direct quotes. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 12 Not Helpful 3
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/literature-reviews/
- ↑ https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003149
- ↑ http://guides.library.ucsc.edu/content.php?pid=364099&sid=2979684
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About This Article
To do a literature review, start by finding a variety of reliable sources that all relate to one topic or theme. Then, read through the sources and come up with a thesis statement for your paper. Once you have your thesis, explain how the sources you used back up your thesis in the body of your literature review. You can arrange the sources chronologically, by publication, or even thematically. For help writing an introduction and conclusion for a literature review, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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8+ Literature Survey Templates in PDF
A literature survey is a guide that helps a researcher to find, identify and define a problem. This is the survey of the various reports , books, journals , articles that are related to your project work, which helps in the justification of your work. Here are a few survey templates that are available which you can use as a framework for your report.
Table of Content
5 steps to do proper literature survey, 1. literature survey template, 2. sample literature survey template, 3. eye tracking literature survey template, 4. corporate literature survey template, 5. basic literature survey template, 6. brief literature survey template, 7. simple literature survey template, 8. active learning literature survey template, 9. literature survey example, step 1: understanding the concept, step 2: select and analyze the literature you want to use, step 3: finding connections, step 4: plan the structure, step 5: implementation.
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- 1. LITERATURE SURVEY Conventional Methods & Recent Trends Presented by :- ANAMIKA BANERJEE , 115217
- 2. LAYOUT OF PRESENTATION 1 •INTRODUCTION 2 •SIGNIFICANCE 3 •SEARCH STRATEGY 4 •SOURCES OF LITERATURE 5 •REFERENCES
- 3. WHAT IS A LITERATURE SURVEY??? “A systematic and thorough search of all types of published literature as well as other sources including dissertation, theses in order to identify as many items as possible that are relevant to a particular topic .” - GASH, 1989
- 4. SIGNIFICANCE OF LITERATURE SURVEY To discover what information exists in our topic of interest. To form a starting point for our own work. To give scholarly authority to our work. To make effective use of our time by focusing on appropriate resources. To avoid duplication. ! BEWARE OF PLAGIARISM !!!
- 5. CARRYING OUT A LITERATURE SURVEY
- 6. GETTING STARTED… FIRST, DEFINE THE TERMS One Can Also Take The Help Of Online Available References and Dictionaries!!!
- 7. ALSO, ENCYCLOPAEDIAS are one of the most important sources of gaining information. They cover areas such as physical properties, manufacturing processes, uses, economic, health and environmental issues.
- 8. SEARCH STRATEGY: SETTING LIMITS TO THE RESEARCH How far back we want our research to go??? Avoid too long a time period. Decide how widespread our search should be. Eliminate the languages we don’t understand.
- 9. BE FLEXIBLE Be prepared to be flexible as the search progresses, we might re- think the scope and terms of our research.
- 10. SOURCES OF LITERATURE BOOKS LIBRARY CATALOGUE JOURNALSTHE INTERNET SPECIALIST MATERIALS
- 11. BOOKS TEXTBOOKS DICTIONARIES & ENCYCLOPEDIAS HANDBOOKS Basic understanding of topic Topic overview / introduction / summary Accessible writing style Authoritative written by subject experts specialist publishers Publication Delay
- 12. LIBRARY The D.E.I. Central Library now has about 1.5 lakh books on various subjects. It subscribes to 180 journals of national and international repute, along with magazines and newspapers for general reading. The library also houses rich reference Collection viz., Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, Specific Subject Encyclopaedias and other reference material. Central Library holdings also include dissertations, doctoral theses and project reports on various subjects.
- 13. LIBRARY CATALOGUE Use for finding books, e-books (on line lib. Catalogue), journal titles, theses, conference proceedings Not suitable for finding resources at item level – eg: journal articles or book chapters If you know the book, search on author and title Also search keywords
- 14. E- JOURNAL SERVICE AT CENTRAL LIBRARY We can access full text databases of the popular international publishers and span through several journals of international repute.
- 15. JOURNALS Journals are vital source of up to date research. They can also provide information on various specialized topics. The journal in which the article appears identifies itself as a peer or refereed journal. Articles are reviewed by an editorial or advisory board Authors are affiliated with universities, colleges, or prestigious research centers References are cited at the end of articles
- 16. SOME KNOWN JOURNALS
- 17. INTERNET SOURCES The internet is widely used and readily accessible. It can provide practically instant information on most of the topics . Bear in mind that anyone can post information on the Internet so the quality may not be reliable. The information you find may be intended for a general audience and is usually less detailed.! !
- 18. GOOGLE SCHOLAR Can search for books and articles Can do an advanced search
- 19. Title links to abstracts and possible source of full text. Link to articles that cited the work & Link to Related articles
- 20. SPECIALIST MATERIALS CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS: These can be useful in providing the latest research, or research that has not been published. They are also helpful in providing information about people in different research areas, and so can be helpful in tracking down other works by the same researcher. GOVERNMENT/CORPORATE REPORTS: Many government departments and corporation commissions carry out research. Their published findings can provide a useful source of information, depending on our field of study.
- 21. ALSO, THESES AND DISSERTATIONS: These can be useful sources of information. However there are disadvantages: they can be difficult to obtain since they are not published, but are generally only available from the library or inter - library systems the student who carried out the research may not be an experienced researcher and therefore we might have to treat their findings with more caution than published research.
- 22. REFERENCES Conducting Research – Dr. Rasha Salama Conducting a Literature Survey - Nola du Toit http://services.unimelb.edu.au/academicskills/reading/lite rature http://www.iris.ethz.ch/msrl/education/iris_studies/pdf/lit erature_review.pdf http://openmed.nic.in/1175/01/Literature_search.pdf http://www.dei.ac.in/SetupWeb/Central%20Library/Onlin e_Resources.htm Multiple purpose of a literature review – Sarah Gash
- 23. THANK YOU
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The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It
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What is a review of the literature?
A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment (sometimes in the form of an annotated bibliography —see the bottom of the next page), but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or thesis. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries
Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas
- information seeking : the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual or computerized methods, to identify a set of useful articles and books
- critical appraisal : the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies.
A literature review must do these things
- be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing
- synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known
- identify areas of controversy in the literature
- formulate questions that need further research
Ask yourself questions like these:
- 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 (e.g. on the effectiveness of a new procedure)? qualitative research (e.g., studies of loneliness among migrant workers)?
- What is the scope of my literature review? What types of publications am I using (e.g., journals, books, government documents, popular media)? What discipline am I working in (e.g., nursing psychology, sociology, medicine)?
- How good was my information seeking ? Has my search been wide enough to ensure I’ve found all the relevant material? Has it been narrow enough to exclude irrelevant material? Is the number of sources I’ve used appropriate for the length of my paper?
- Have I critically analysed the literature I use? Do I follow through a set of concepts and questions, comparing items to each other in the ways they deal with them? Instead of just listing and summarizing items, do I assess them, discussing strengths and weaknesses?
- Have I cited and discussed studies contrary to my perspective?
- Will the reader find my literature review relevant, appropriate, and useful ?
Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include:
- Has the author formulated a problem/issue?
- Is it clearly defined? Is its significance (scope, severity, relevance) clearly established?
- Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective?
- What is the author’s research orientation (e.g., interpretive, critical science, combination)?
- What is the author’s theoretical framework (e.g., psychological, developmental, feminist)?
- What is the relationship between the theoretical and research perspectives?
- Has the author evaluated the literature relevant to the problem/issue? Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with?
- In a research study, how good are the basic components of the study design (e.g., population, intervention, outcome)? How accurate and valid are the measurements? Is the analysis of the data accurate and relevant to the research question? Are the conclusions validly based upon the data and analysis?
- In material written for a popular readership, does the author use appeals to emotion, one-sided examples, or rhetorically-charged language and tone? Is there an objective basis to the reasoning, or is the author merely “proving” what he or she already believes?
- How does the author structure the argument? Can you “deconstruct” the flow of the argument to see whether or where it breaks down logically (e.g., in establishing cause-effect relationships)?
- In what ways does this book or article contribute to our understanding of the problem under study, and in what ways is it useful for practice? What are the strengths and limitations?
- How does this book or article relate to the specific thesis or question I am developing?
A literature review is a piece of discursive prose , not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another. It’s usually a bad sign to see every paragraph beginning with the name of a researcher. Instead, organize the literature review into sections that present themes or identify trends, including relevant theory. You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept of your thesis or research question
If you are writing an annotated bibliography , you may need to summarize each item briefly, but should still follow through themes and concepts and do some critical assessment of material. Use an overall introduction and conclusion to state the scope of your coverage and to formulate the question, problem, or concept your chosen material illuminates. Usually you will have the option of grouping items into sections—this helps you indicate comparisons and relationships. You may be able to write a paragraph or so to introduce the focus of each section
This handout and many others are available in Writing in the Health Sciences: a comprehensive guide .
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Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.
Similar to primary research, development of the literature review requires four stages:
- Problem formulation—which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues?
- Literature search—finding materials relevant to the subject being explored
- Data evaluation—determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic
- Analysis and interpretation—discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature
Literature reviews should comprise the following elements:
- An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review
- Division of works under review into categories (e.g. those in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely)
- Explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others
- Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research
In assessing each piece, consideration should be given to:
- Provenance—What are the author's credentials? Are the author's arguments supported by evidence (e.g. primary historical material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent scientific findings)?
- Objectivity—Is the author's perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or is certain pertinent information ignored to prove the author's point?
- Persuasiveness—Which of the author's theses are most/least convincing?
- Value—Are the author's arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?
A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject. In either case, its purpose is to:
- Place each work in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the subject under review
- Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration
- Identify new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in, previous research
- Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies
- Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort
- Point the way forward for further research
- Place one's original work (in the case of theses or dissertations) in the context of existing literature
The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary scholarship.
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Literature Review in Research Writing
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Research on research? If you find this idea rather peculiar, know that nowadays, with the huge amount of information produced daily all around the world, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep up to date with all of it. In addition to the sheer amount of research, there is also its origin. We are witnessing the economic and intellectual emergence of countries like China, Brazil, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates, for example, that are producing scholarly literature in their own languages. So, apart from the effort of gathering information, there must also be translators prepared to unify all of it in a single language to be the object of the literature survey. At Elsevier, our team of translators is ready to support researchers by delivering high-quality scientific translations , in several languages, to serve their research – no matter the topic.
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a study – or, more accurately, a survey – involving scholarly material, with the aim to discuss published information about a specific topic or research question. Therefore, to write a literature review, it is compulsory that you are a real expert in the object of study. The results and findings will be published and made available to the public, namely scientists working in the same area of research.
How to Write a Literature Review
First of all, don’t forget that writing a literature review is a great responsibility. It’s a document that is expected to be highly reliable, especially concerning its sources and findings. You have to feel intellectually comfortable in the area of study and highly proficient in the target language; misconceptions and errors do not have a place in a document as important as a literature review. In fact, you might want to consider text editing services, like those offered at Elsevier, to make sure your literature is following the highest standards of text quality. You want to make sure your literature review is memorable by its novelty and quality rather than language errors.
Writing a literature review requires expertise but also organization. We cannot teach you about your topic of research, but we can provide a few steps to guide you through conducting a literature review:
- Choose your topic or research question: It should not be too comprehensive or too limited. You have to complete your task within a feasible time frame.
- Set the scope: Define boundaries concerning the number of sources, time frame to be covered, geographical area, etc.
- Decide which databases you will use for your searches: In order to search the best viable sources for your literature review, use highly regarded, comprehensive databases to get a big picture of the literature related to your topic.
- Search, search, and search: Now you’ll start to investigate the research on your topic. It’s critical that you keep track of all the sources. Start by looking at research abstracts in detail to see if their respective studies relate to or are useful for your own work. Next, search for bibliographies and references that can help you broaden your list of resources. Choose the most relevant literature and remember to keep notes of their bibliographic references to be used later on.
- Review all the literature, appraising carefully it’s content: After reading the study’s abstract, pay attention to the rest of the content of the articles you deem the “most relevant.” Identify methodologies, the most important questions they address, if they are well-designed and executed, and if they are cited enough, etc.
If it’s the first time you’ve published a literature review, note that it is important to follow a special structure. Just like in a thesis, for example, it is expected that you have an introduction – giving the general idea of the central topic and organizational pattern – a body – which contains the actual discussion of the sources – and finally the conclusion or recommendations – where you bring forward whatever you have drawn from the reviewed literature. The conclusion may even suggest there are no agreeable findings and that the discussion should be continued.
Why are literature reviews important?
Literature reviews constantly feed new research, that constantly feeds literature reviews…and we could go on and on. The fact is, one acts like a force over the other and this is what makes science, as a global discipline, constantly develop and evolve. As a scientist, writing a literature review can be very beneficial to your career, and set you apart from the expert elite in your field of interest. But it also can be an overwhelming task, so don’t hesitate in contacting Elsevier for text editing services, either for profound edition or just a last revision. We guarantee the very highest standards. You can also save time by letting us suggest and make the necessary amendments to your manuscript, so that it fits the structural pattern of a literature review. Who knows how many worldwide researchers you will impact with your next perfectly written literature review.
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In this sense, a literature review is a scholarly paper that presents the current knowledge including substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic. Literature reviews are secondary sources and do not report new or original experimental work.
A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic. There are five key steps to writing a literature review:
Literature Survey: Is the process of analyzing, summarizing, organizing, and presenting novel conclusions from the results of technical review of large number of recently published scholarly articles. The results of the literature survey can contribute to the body of knowledge when peer-reviewed and published as survey articles
Before Writing. 1. Clarify your professor's requirements. Some instructors may ask you to do a literature review and not get more specific than that. Or, maybe they did and you were playing Plants vs Zombies. Either way, knowing precisely what your professor is looking for is the first step to getting that A.
Processing literature survey 4/5 • Start the work immediately - Making a literature survey is laborious and demanding task - Running out of time is inevitable, if you do not follow the timetable • Proceed gradually - Process the sources in gradual manner to ensure getting a finished version within the time limits
A literature survey is a summary of the current state of research on a particular topic. It typically includes an overview of key findings, concepts, theories, and methodologies related to the topic, as well as a discussion of any gaps or challenges in the current body of knowledge.
A Likert scale ( / ˈlɪkərt / LIK-ərt,  commonly mispronounced as / ˈlaɪkərt / LY-kərt ) is a psychometric scale commonly involved in research that employs questionnaires. It is the most widely used approach to scaling responses in survey research, such that the term (or more fully the Likert-type scale) is often used ...
A literature survey is a guide that helps a researcher to find, identify and define a problem. This is the survey of the various reports, books, journals, articles that are related to your project work, which helps in the justification of your work. Here are a few survey templates that are available which you can use as a framework for your report.
Literature Surveys: A Methodological Approach 1 of 21 Literature Surveys: A Methodological Approach Sep. 13, 2012 • 4 likes • 19,116 views Download Now Download to read offline Education Technology TIL/T&P Masterclass by postdoctoral researcher Raymond Hogendoorn about litereature review. flmkessels Follow Advertisement Advertisement Recommended
Literature survey Apr. 04, 2014 • 43 likes • 48,722 views Download Now Download to read offline Science Education Technology steps of literature survey under the course of research methodology Anamika Banerjee Follow Research Scholar Advertisement Recommended Writing the literature review Ariadne Rooney 1.5k views • 14 slides Literature review
A literature review is a piece of discursive prose to find objectivity and facts in the current information. We follow a thorough iterative assessment process to distil information from credible and highly impactful sources. Start a project Connect the audience by making a real impact
Answer (1 of 3): If you're doing a thesis or project, you'd be required to do a literature survey. What this means is to examine existing literature(journal papers ...
A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment (sometimes in the form of an annotated bibliography—see the bottom of the next page), but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report ...
Analysis of YouTube of Videos: A Literature Survey - IJSER
LITERATURE SURVEY OF VARIOUS CHATBOTS Authors Preeti Bhat Harsha Pariyani, Anshika Sinha, Roshni Rote, Asst. Prof. N. A. Mulla Abstract A chatbot is AI computer software that can act as a conversation through textual or auditory methods.
1. Introduction. Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.
Literature survey helps you. find out/identify/define a problem. Thursday, March 5, 2020. 5. 9 Vijayamohanan Pillai N Thursday, March 5, 2020. Literature Survey Vs. Literature Review.
A literature review is a study - or, more accurately, a survey - involving scholarly material, with the aim to discuss published information about a specific topic or research question. Therefore, to write a literature review, it is compulsory that you are a real expert in the object of study.