Monday, March 28, 2016

Notes on Review of Literature

Your literature review should help you understand:
- How other scholars have written about your topic.
- The range of theories used to analyze materials or data
- How other scholars connect their specific research topics to larger issues, questions, or practices within the field.
- The best methodologies and research techniques for your particular topic.

Your Literature Review:
- Situates the current study within a wider disciplinary conversation.
- Illustrates the uniqueness, importance of and need for your particular project.
- Justifies methodological choices.
- Demonstrates familiarity with the topic and appropriate approaches to studying it.

An Effective Literature Review Should:
- Flesh out the background of your study.
- Critically assess important research trends or areas of interest.
- Identify potential gaps in knowledge.
- Establish a need for current and/or future research projects.

Tips on Writing Your Literature Review

- Categorize the literature into recognizable topic clusters:

  • include the most recent various positions that are relevant to your project 
  • build on existing literature or research that lead to your project
  • demonstrate the places where the literature is lacking

- Avoid “Smith says X, Jones says Y” literature reviews.

- Avoid including all the studies on the subject.

- Avoid polemics, praise, and blame.

Key Points in Making Your Literature Review

- You are entering a scholarly conversation already in progress. The literature should be able to include what has been mentioned before and the various important voices that are participated in the conversation.

- After assessing the literature in your field, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why should we study (further) this research topic/problem? 
  • What contributions will my study make to the existing literature?


Eves, Rosalyn. PowerPoint Presentation. The Graduate Writing Center of the  Center for Excellence in Writing. University of Texas.

1 comment:

Anndy Virtue said...

Thank you for these comprehensive guidelines.