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Due to the Fire, K-State Libraries' Access to Databases Has Been Temporarily Interrupted
Library staff are asked to communicate with supervisors and employees via phone and text until full email access is restored
What is a Literature Review and Why Should You Do It?
A literature review is:
- a summary and evaluation of the significant research and/or theory published on a topic
- organized in a way that analyzes, integrates, and shows the relationship between research studies, as well as the way each has contributed to an understanding of the topic
- Not just an annotated bibliography
The purpose of a literature review is to:
- provide an overview of relevant literature, research, and methodology in an area of study
- explore relationships among the prior research
- evaluate the prior research
- identify gaps and discrepancies in the literature
- identify areas of controversy in the literature
- make an argument for why further study of your research question is important to a field
Benefits to the researcher:
- Establishing context and significance of the problem
- Discovering appropriate subject vocabulary
- Identifying methodologies
- Identifying what has been researched and where gaps may be found – underused methodologies, designs, populations
- Focusing research topic
Evaluate your articles by asking yourself some of these questions:
- What is the methodology?
- What is the quality of the findings or conclusions?
- What are the article’s major strengths and weaknesses?
- What beliefs are expressed/is there an ideological stance?
- Can the results be generalized?
- How does this fit in and compare with other articles I have read?
Writing the Review
The literature review should deal with relationships – how do the articles relate to each other? How do the articles relate to your research?
In the literature review:
- Explain the reason for reviewing the literature; explain why particular literature was included or excluded
- Summarize the major contributions of the significant articles
- Evaluate and compare the articles
- Evaluate the current state of the research -- explain inconsistencies in theory or conclusions, gaps in research, trends in what has been published, and opportunities for further research
- Do not just summarize the articles
Ways to organize:
- By theoretical approaches
- By concept or issue
- By methodologies employed
- By chronology, if significant changes in thought have taken place
- Use subheadings to clarify the structure
- Use original sources -- do not cite works you have not read
- Minimize direct quotations by summarizing in your own words (with citations)
- Use appropriate quotation and citation methods to avoid plagiarism