Reviewing the literature VS the Literature Review
Even if looking at a literature review sample has helped you get an idea of , there are many students who still struggle with getting their literature review written. It may be because of scheduling conflicts or you may simply have some issues with getting started with this notoriously difficult document. No matter where your struggles with literature review documents, we are here to help.
Whether it’s a cup of tea, a walk, or even just getting away from the computer, escaping and recharging can be vital to feeling in control again. This is true for new researchers during the literature review stage – and in fact is one of the most important points for the whole PhD process in general!
The length of the literature review is generally in direct proportion to the complexityof the research question and outcomes as they are represented in thepublished literature. How do you gauge this? Let the title be yourguide!Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone. For professionals, they are useful reports that keep them up to date with what is current in the field. For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the writer in his or her field. Literature reviews also provide a solid background for a research paper’s investigation. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers.A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations. Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant.A good literature review clearly explains to the reader why the book is valuable or why it is not. Although the literature review deals heavily with personal opinion, the student should not use first-person pronouns but should simply state those opinions as if they were fact. A good literature review convinces the reader of the reviewer's opinions through the use of strong rhetoric and viable information.Look for other literature reviews in your area of interest or in the discipline and read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or ways to organize your final review. You can simply put the word “review” in your search engine along with your other topic terms to find articles of this type on the Internet or in an electronic database. The bibliography or reference section of sources you’ve already read are also excellent entry points into your own research.Whether you use subheadings to organize the literature reviewdepends on your field -- in the social/behavioral sciences, it is quitecommon to use subheadings; in the neuro/behavioral, biological andphysical sciences, it is uncommon. We'll look at two examples, one fromtranslational medicine and one from the social sciences.