Writing Literature Reviews (PPT). This MS PowerPoint Presentation contains simplified discussions on and outlines of the definitions, purposes, and types of critical literature reviews. If loading of the ppt viewer version takes longer than expected, click the link below to download the file.
Writing Literature Reviews (Notes)
A literature review, according to Dawidowicz (2010), is “an examination of scholarly information and research-based information on a specific topic, with a goal to create a complete, accurate representation of the knowledge and research-based theory available on a topic” (p.5).
Fink (2005) succinctly defines a literature review (as cited in Booth, Papaoioannou, & Sulton; 2012) as “a systematic, explicit, and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating, and synthesizing the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners” (p.5).
Lather (1999) emphasizes that a quality literary review (as cited in Rocco, & Bass; 2011) “should not just reflect or replicate previous research and writing on the topic under review, but should lead to a new productive work, and represent knowledge construction on the part of the writer” (pp. 146-147).
Thus, a literature review is “an objective, thorough summary and critical analysis of the relevant available research and non-research literature on the topic being studied (Hart, 1998). Its goal is to bring the reader up-to-date with current literature on a topic and form the basis for another goal, such as the justification for future research in the area” (Cronin, Ryan, & Coughlan; 2008).
Purposes of a Literature Review
- It gives readers easy access to research on a particular topic.
- It provides an excellent starting point for researchers.
- It ensures that researchers do not duplicate a work.
- It can provide clues as to where future research is heading.
- It highlights key findings.
- It identifies inconsistencies, gaps, and contradictions.
- It provides a constructive analysis of the methodologies.
Two Major Types of Literature Reviews
A stand alone literature review is structured much like an academic essay (i.e., containing Introduction, Main Body, and Conclusion).
A section or chapter of a research proposal or report provides a theoretical context or framework for the research being undertaken (materials are arranged chronologically, by theoretical perspective, from most to least important, or by issue or theme) .
Other Types of Literature Reviews
Traditional or narrative review critiques and summarizes a body of literature and draws conclusions about the topic in question.
Systematic review uses a more rigorous and well-defined approach to answer well-focused questions.
Meta-analysis is the process of taking a large body of quantitative findings and conducting statistical analysis in order to integrate those findings and enhance understanding.
Meta-synthesis is the non-statistical technique used to integrate, evaluate and interpret the findings of multiple qualitative research studies.
Steps in the Literature Review Process
- Selecting a review topic.
- Searching the literature.
- Defining the types of sources for a review.
- Summarizing information required in the review.
- Analyzing and synthesizing the literature.
- Framing and writing the review.
Booth, A., Papaoioannou, D., & Sulton, A. (2012). Systematic approaches to successful literature review. ECIY, London: Sage Publications.
Cronin, P., Ryan, F., & Coughlan, M. (2008). Undertaking a literature review: A step-by-step approach. Retrieved from http://www.cin.ufpe.br/~in1002/leituras/2008-undertaking-a-literature-review-a-step-by-step-approach.pdf
Dawidowicz, P. (2010). Literature reviews made easy: A quick guide to success. Charlotte, NC: Age Publishing.
Learn how to write a review of literature. The writing center: University of Wisconsin- Madison. Retrieved from https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/ReviewofLiterature.html.
Reviewing the literature: A critical review. Academic Skills. The University of Melbourne. Retrieved from https://www.unimelb.edu.au/academicskills.html.
Rocco, T., & Bass, H.J.. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco, CA: Wiley Publishers.
Writing a literature review. University of the Fraser Valley. Retrieved from https://www.ufv.ca/writing_a_literature_review.html.