2 2.1What is a “Literature Review”? A literature review is an overview of research on a given topic and answers to related research questionsLiterature reviews are an important part of research and should be treated as suchA well-written literature review:Organizes literatureEvaluates literatureIdentifies patterns and trends in literatureSynthesizes literature
3 ‘the literature’ means the works you consulted in order to understand and investigate your research problem.A literature review involves providing a rationale for your selection of literature related to the subject studied.
4 The literature review familiarizes the reader with the subject and the scope of the research topic. It helps the reader to define key concepts andFinally it establishes the body of knowledge which will be able to contribute towards the research.
5 2.2 Writing the Literature Review Firstly decide what you need to read from a broad spectrum of literature availableRefer to books, periodicals, journals, and websites which will be relevant to your study.
6 Determine what exactly are your objectives. You have to decide on what approach or methodology would you adopt and finally
7 You should provide a rather current complete overview of your related topic. You are to show that you have read extensively and formed a body of knowledge on the subject of field of study.
8 Purpose of writing a literature Review your review should be in a form ofcritical decision,showing awareness of differing arguments,theories, approaches and methodologies.it should be a synthesis and analysis of the relevant published work, linked at all times to your objective and rationale of your study.
9 There are several purposes on why we write a literature review: it reviews knowledge of previous studies on the subject of researchidentifies a conceptual framework for ones own researchit provides directions for future researchit provides resources previously unknown to the readerit identifies gaps in past studies
10 it relates your findings to previous knowledge and suggest further research in a literature review the writer has to justify his choice of research questionThe researcher has to provide the necessary background information needed to understand the study andfinally to show the readers that the writer is familiar with the significant and up to date research which is relevant to the research topic.
11 to sum up, a good literature review is: critical of what has been written,it identifies areas of controversy,raises questions and identifies areas which need further research.
12 2.3 Process of Writing a Literature Review There are several stages in developing a literature review.(Biddlek 1997) The stages are : IR4WIdentifyRecordRelevanceRetrieveReviewWrite
13 Stage 1 – IdentifyCompile a list of references.Use a kind of index system either a hard copy or a software referencing system.i)work through key catalogues, databases, indexes, bibliographies and websites for relevant resourcesii)check the references and in the articles you have readiii)locate and use research reviews, most journals have a section on review of articles, it is essential you see what other people think about these articles as they be from a previous research
14 Stage 2-Recordi)Make a record of any literature that relates to your topic.You should have citation details, where it is located, should also write a few sentences that help you remember what the article is about
15 Stage 3 –Relevancei)Prioritize the literature, after having read the abstract, rank them if it should be high, medium or low priorityii)On the website scan through the literature for relevance before you decide to download or print it outiii) You need to focus on the literature and sources you have identified and ranked as most important, the most recent development from the periodicals.iv) Distinguish between textbooks, research articles from journals and books. They contain different kinds of information that will be more or less relevant to your research
16 Stage 4 -Retrievei) Make hard copies of the most important literature. Print relevant journal articles from databases and photocopy articles from journals
17 Stage 5 –ReviewUse the reading log which allows you to record different kinds of information: the bibliographic details,a description, andrelationship to other readings.Also record where the literature is located so that you can easily refer back to the quotes or ideas paraphrased when you are editing. As you are taking notes, ensure you are clear about what you are quoting and paraphrasing. You cannot risk unintentionally plagiarizing ideas.
18 Stage 6 -WriteStart with an introductory paragraph,discuss the literature on the subject in a logical andcoherent way and* finally conclude with a paragraph that is relevant to the literature of the research
19 2.4 Five Phases of Writing a Literature Review Phase 1 – Specify the scope of your review i)Ensure you have a precise topicyou must be precise about having a topic. It should not be too broad or unspecific. Look at the following topic which is too broadExample: ‘Life and Times of Sigmund Freud”The title below seems to be limited, but still considered too broadExample: “Psychological Theories of Sigmund FreudHowever, a more manageable and appropriate topic would be‘Freud’s Theory of Personality Applied to Mental Health”If your research question is too broad or defined vaguely or abstractly, you may end up reading and compiling to much information for your literature review. However if your research question is specified too narrowly or defined concisely, you may miss out more general information
20 ii)Scope of the Literature Review you have to determine the precise scope of the literature review, Questions which need to be answered are as follows-What will I cover in my review?-How comprehensive will it be?-How current are my materials-What type of materials/documents will be needed?
21 i)Using Existing Literature Reviews Phase 2: Locating and Accessing Information You can obtain all the necessary materials for your literatureobtain all the necessary materials for your literature review by searching relevant bibliographies, print indexes and online databasesi)Using Existing Literature ReviewsMany journals on different subject areas publish review articles. In these journals you may find commentaries on research articles. You may find these reviews relevant to your literature review.
22 Phase 3 Recording the Information You can develop a systematic way of recording information through: note cards with citations:Photostatted articles with points highlighted or underlined with notes in the margins: traditional taking down notes or in laptops
23 i)Tips on Recording Information A quick skimming and scanning through the introduction and the conclusion of an article, would give you an idea of the article and general points.a)Start with the most recent studies and work backwards. Refer to the list of references on a recent article; -b)Read, first the report or article’s abstract,this will give you some clues about the articlec)When taking down notes, remember to write out the complete bibliographic citation for each work. It is essential you note down the page numbers as these will be necessary later for footnotes and bibliography. For internet citations note the URLd)Write all direct quotations precisely when taking down notes. You should use quotations marks, so it can recognize as a directly quoted text and not a paraphrase. If you fail to put a direct text in quotation marks or to credit the authors, it amounts to plagiarism.
24 Phase 4 Evaluating the Information After having read all the articles, you must now decide and evaluate what should be included in the review.Be selective, you have to consider issues,themes, that link different articles.
25 Phase 5 Organizing and Writing the Literature Review After accessing, reading and evaluating the material. These materials need to be organized.You may organize the selected readings by theoretical approaches, by specific concepts or issues, and by methodologies
26 i)Excellent WritingAfter you have located, read, analyzed and evaluated the literature, the next stage is actual writing. Here are some tips:Keep your paragraphs shortSubheadings are essential, as it clarifies the structure. They break up the materials into more readable unitsAvoid too many long direct quotations from the studies. Paraphrase other writers works rather than quote lengthy passagesDon’t cite references that you haven’t read
27 Some traps to avoid: Trying to read everything! not to provide a summary of all the published work that relates to your research, but a survey of the most relevant and significant work.Reading but not writing!Writing can help you to understand and find relationships between the work you’ve read, so don’t put writing off until you’ve “finished” reading.Not keeping bibliographic information!- Source:web.pdx.edu/~bertini/literature_review.pdf
28 2.7 Final ChecklistHere is a checklist from University of Melbourne:( t.html)i)Selection of sourcesHave you indicated the purpose of the reviewHave you ascertained the parameters of the review and are they reasonableHave you emphasized on recent development of the researchHave you focused on primary sources with only selective use of secondary sourcesIs the literature selected relevant to your studyIs your bibliographic data complete