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How To Write The Literature Review?

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Nouman Umar Profile
Nouman Umar answered
The documentation of the relevant studies citing the author and the year of the study is called literature review or literature survey. The literature survey is a clear and logical presentations of the relevant research work done thus far in the area of investigation. As stated earlier, the purpose of the literature survey is to identify and highlight the important variables, and so to document the significant findings from earlier research that will serve as the foundation on which the theoretical framework for the current investigation can be built and the hypothesis developed. Such documentation is important to convince the reader that the researcher is knowledgeable about the problem area and has done the preliminary homework that is necessary to conduct the research, the theoretical framework will be structured on work already done and will add to the solid foundation of existing knowledge.

A point to note is that the literature survey should bring together all relevant information in a cogent and logical manner instead of presenting all the studies in chorological order with bits and pieces of uncoordinated information. A good literature survey also leads one logically to a good problem statement. There are several accepted methods of citing references in the literature survey second using quotations.
Call Tutors Profile
Call Tutors answered

Nine Steps To Writing A Literature Review1. Find a Working Topic

Look at your specific area of study. Think about what interests you, and what is fertile ground for study. Talk to your professor, brainstorm, and read lecture notes and recent issues of periodicals in the field.

2. Review the Literature
  • Using keywords, search a computer database. It is best to use at least two databases relevant to your discipline
  • Remember that the reference lists of recent articles and reviews can lead to valuable papers
  • Make certain that you also include any studies contrary to your point of view
3. Focus Your Topic Narrowly and Select Papers Accordingly

Consider the following:

  • What interests you?
  • What interests others?
  • What time span of research will you consider?

Choose an area of research that is due for a review.

4. Read the Selected Articles Thoroughly and Evaluate Them
  • What assumptions do most/some researchers seem to be making?
  • What methodologies do they use? What testing procedures, subjects, material tested?
  • Evaluate and synthesize the research findings and conclusions drawn
  • Note experts in the field: Names/labs that are frequently referenced
  • Note conflicting theories, results, methodologies
  • Watch for popularity of theories and how this has/has not changed over time
5. Organize the Selected Papers By Looking For Patterns and By Developing Subtopics

Note things such as:

  • Findings that are common/contested
  • Two or three important trends in the research
  • The most influential theories
6. Develop a Working Thesis

Write a one or two sentence statement summarizing the conclusion you have reached about the major trends and developments you see in the research that has been done on your subject.

7. Organize Your Own Paper Based on the Findings From Steps 4 & 5

Develop headings/subheadings. If your literature review is extensive, find a large table surface, and on it place post-it notes or filing cards to organize all your findings into categories. Move them around if you decide that (a) they fit better under different headings, or (b) you need to establish new topic headings.

8. Write the Body of the Paper

Follow the plan you have developed above, making certain that each section links logically to the one before and after, and that you have divided your sections by themes or subtopics, not by reporting the work of individual theorists or researchers.

9. Look At What You Have Written; Focus On Analysis, Not Description

Look at the topic sentences of each paragraph. If you were to read only these sentences, would you find that your paper presented a clear position, logically developed, from beginning to end? If, for example, you find that each paragraph begins with a researcher's name, it might indicate that, instead of evaluating and comparing the research literature from an analytical point of view, you have simply described what research has been done. This is one of the most common problems with student literature reviews. So if your paper still does not appear to be defined by a central, guiding concept, or if it does not critically analyse the literature selected, then you should make a new outline based on what you have said in each section and paragraph of the paper, and decide whether you need to add information, to delete off-topic information, or to restructure the paper entirely.

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