Reviewing a book and writing a literature review is not one and the same thing. When we speak of literature review, it does not mean only summarizing every article you may have read on a topic. Literature review will of course survey scholarly books and articles, conference proceedings and dissertations on a certain issue. It will then offer a critical assessment and summary of each of these. In doing so, it will seek to relate the research to your work.
When writing a literature review, you can follow some easy steps to be sure your writing is accurate and relevant. To develop a literature review, you must understand the topic first to see what its component issues are. Then, you have to search for materials on this topic under examination. Your task is to identify the literature which makes an important contribution to this topic. You must then analyze and interpret this literature, discussing its findings and conclusions. Watch this You Tube video below to get a better idea.
- Reviewing APA guidelines: One of the first things that students must do is familiarize themselves with the core elements of writing in APA styles. You are expected to give attention to the document guidelines like margins and fonts, abstract and title page, text citations and quotations.
- Identifying a Topic: Your next task as a student is to choose the topic for literature review. It is better to choose one which is related to what you want your final project to be on.
- Identifying Relevant Literature: Students will have to get acquainted with online databases for their study. You may use a general descriptor or a well-defined descriptor which has been used previously. You can try out different kinds of searches like restricting searches to only those descriptors seen in document titles. You may even redefine your topic if you find it necessary. For instance, when it is very broad, you can narrow it down to a particular area of concern. It is recommended that you look for existing literature reviews on that topic. While electronic searches may throw up many hits you can also find relevant articles through hand-searching of journals. Manual searches may even help you discover new ideas about research techniques and new interpretations.
- Analyzing Literature: When you have identified the articles you will review, you must organize these and analyze them before you begin to write. You can browse through them to get the basic idea and content; you can make notes for each. You can also categorize the articles into groups for convenience. As a student you must know the format for taking down notes as you read articles. This is done using word processors or database program or Inspiration which is a concept-mapping program or by even using note-cards. You need to be consistent in your note making. You have to search for the different easy in which key terms are being defined, choose useful quotes and cite page numbers when you copy exact words. Your task is to look for strengths and weaknesses in each article to ensure that the review is not only a description but a critical evaluation.
- Identifying Trends: When you review the articles, you have to identify the patterns and trends. These will not be apparent when you read but they will be visible once you have analyzed the works. While your review will make generalizations, it should also expose the inconsistencies. You have to look for gaps and explain why these exist, based upon your understanding of literature on that subject.
- Identifying Relationships among Works: You must also look for relationships among the articles that you review. This will help you see which the landmark studies were and how these led to more research. Studies will also fall into distinct categories and when writing a review, relationships among these should be addressed.
- Focusing on Topic: When you have found a topic of interest, you need to ensure that the articles you review are relevant to that topic. You can find key descriptors while recording notes. These will allow you to organize the findings as you write a review. You have the important task of correctly putting an end to collecting research materials. There will always be many more articles on a topic that you can find but you need to decide where to stop. Before writing, you must assess your reference list carefully to ensure that it is updated. A review should ideally cover works from the previous five years and any other milestone research prior to this period if it is relevant.
- Summarizing Literature: You can create tables for over viewing, organizing, and summarizing the conclusions and findings. When you include tables in a literature review, it should have a corresponding analysis which interprets literature which you have included in the table. A concept map is often used for planning the table. Alternately, you can use “table” feature in Microsoft Word or Excel.
- Synthesizing Literature: You need to develop an outline before you begin writing. You need to plan on ways to organize the findings into an analysis of what you have covered in the notes. You must create an outline for the topic which will tell your reader what you are arguing about. This thesis should then be justified through your narrative and arguments..
- Writing your Review: You must identify your broad problem area without making global statements. Your job as a student is to convince your readers why the topic deserves attention. You have to explain why some studies are more significant than others. When you are speaking of a classic or landmark study that was replicated, you need to mention results of its replication. You must not forget to discuss other literature on that topic, referring to other reviews about issues which you will not discuss at length. It is advisable to avoid including a lengthy list of non-specific references.
- Developing Coherent Essays: Finally, your task is to make sure the review is coherent. When it is too long, you must include an overview at the start. Your duty is to clearly state what will be included in the review. This will help readers follow the thesis of the review better. The essay should be logical, inter-related, well structured and cohesive integrating important details of works reviewed. It should communicate your opinions and arguments clearly. Using structured subheadings in the essay is recommended when the paper is lengthy. The conclusion must be properly written to provide a closure to the arguments.
Mary Jones has written articles and papers which have been selected by many reputed academic journals and paper publishing platforms . She is also a private tutor at ExpertAssignmentHelp.com. Mary Jones is known for her academic prowess in subjects like Literarture and Writing. Mary Jones uses her extensive knowledge in these subjects to help students and is a firm believer in the fact that knowledge shared is knowledge gained.