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Literature Review (Review of Related Literature - Research Methodology)

Aug 19, 2014



Literature Review or Review of Related Literature is one of the most vital stages in any research. This presentation attempts to throw some light on the process and important aspects of literature review.

  • A focused reading A focused reading with a specificwith a specific purpose.purpose.
  • WHAT IS A LITERATURE REVIEW? Many students are instructed, as part of their research program, to perform a literature reviewliterature review, without understanding what it is. Read more:
  • Sources essential for LT Sources are generally described as primary, secondary, or tertiary. Primary: Primary sources are materials that you are directly writing about, the raw materials of your own research. Secondary: Secondary sources are books and articles in which other researchers report the results of their research based on (their) primary data or sources. Tertiary: Tertiary sources are books and articles based on secondary sources, on the research of others. Tertiary sources synthesize and explain the work of others and might be useful early in your research, but they are generally weak support for your own arguments at times they are challenged in your argument!
  • What is Literature Review?What is Literature Review? A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Occasionally researchers are asked to write one as a separate assignment (sometimes in the form of an annotated bibliography), but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or also a chapter in M.Phil/Ph.D.thesis.
  • What is the purpose ofWhat is the purpose of Literature Review?Literature Review? Purpose - to convey what knowledge and ideaswhat knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and whathave been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding conceptdefined by a guiding concept (e.g., our 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
  • What is not Literature Review? Not - chronological catalog of all of the sources, but an evaluation, integrating the previous research together, But - it is to explain how it integrates into the proposed research program. All sides of an argument must be clearly explained, to avoid bias, and areas of agreement and disagreement should be highlighted. Not - collection of quotes and paraphrasing from other sources. But - good literature review should also have some evaluation of the quality and findings of the research.
  • Why do a Literature Review? to identify gapsidentify gaps in the research area to avoid reinventing the wheelavoid reinventing the wheel to carry on from where others have alreadycarry on from where others have already completedcompleted to identify other people working in the sameidentify other people working in the same fieldsfields to fathom the depth of knowledgefathom the depth of knowledge of your subject area
  • Why do LR?Why do LR? to identify opposing viewsopposing views to put your work into wider perspectiveput your work into wider perspective to identify methodsmethods that could be relevant to your project. to identify seminal worksidentify seminal works in your area to provide the intellectual context for your own work, enabling you to position your project in relationproject in relation to other work
  • Two important objectives of LR:Two important objectives of LR: Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas: 1.information seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual or computerized methods, to identify a set of useful articles and books 2.critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies
  • A literature review must doA literature review must do these things:these things: be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question we 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 )?
  • Ask yourself questions like these: 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., Engineering, Psychology, Humanities, Pharmacy, Management)? 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?
  • Ask yourself questions like these: 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)?
  • Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include: 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?
  • Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include: 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?
  • Four Examples of Literature Review Step by Step drafting LR: Psychology. Systematic arrangement Ph.D. Thesis on ELT Engineering Colleges in Tami . Summarizing Example with teachers remark on LR. What to do and what not to CALL The best of all examples
  • Web Tools for LR:
  • Web Tools helpful in LR: Bookmarking sites: e.g. Google Docs - Prepare a form easy to manage records in auto-generated spread sheet. -
  • Reference: Read more: Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination (Published in association with The Open University) Dr. Christopher Hart. Any book on Research Methodology for respective subjects deals with Review of Literature. Cooper, H. (2010). Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis: A Step-By-Step Approach. Los Angeles: Sage. (call number McHenry Stacks H62 C5859) Machi, L.A. (2009). The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press. (call number McHenry Stacks LB1047.3 M33) Deakin University. (2009). The Literature Review. Geelong, Victoria, Australia: Author. Retrieved 4th September 2009 from the World Wide Web: