LITERATURE REVIEWS (Purpose (plot the development of a line of reasoning,…
Is a written overview of major writings and other sources on a selected topic.
Guidelines for writing Literature Reviews
Pick out the research most relevant to the topic
Discuss the general importance of your topic
Identify the broad problem
Pointing out the major research topic that will be discussed
Examine in more detail the original papers and, in particular, the original materials used in the papers being reviewed
plot the development of a line of reasoning
integrate and synthesise work from different research areas
review the work done in a specific time period
evaluate the current state of evidence for a particular viewpoint
show the history of a ﬁeld
reveal inadequacies in the literature and point to where further research needs to be done.
It gives readers easy access to research on a particular topic
It ensures that researchers do not duplicate work that has already been done.
It highlights key ﬁndings
It identiﬁes inconsistencies, gaps and contradictions in the literature.
Ways of presenting summaries of the results of research reviews
A ‘scoreboard’ showing critical features
A common method of summarising results, particularly used in theses and dissertations
Involves pooling the results that can be found from all the known studies on a given topic. The aim is to arrive at an overall summary of the results for the topic in question.
A scoreboard plus details
It enables the reader to trace the studies should they wish
More studies are excluded on particular methodological grounds
The narrative review with scoreboard
Writers strengthen the arguments of their reviews by supporting the claims made with tabular ‘scoreboards’
The narrative review
Writers research around a particular topic and then write a review of the ﬁeld, giving their own ‘take’ on it, selecting evidence from whatever seems appropriate to them
Problems in reviewing the literature
The problem of interpreting the ﬁndings of the published studies and seeing if these ﬁndings are relevant to your review
it is not easy to publish studies that don't have statistically signiﬁcant ﬁndings