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What Is a Literature Review?
This should not be in any way confused with a book review. Though they may share some similarities. There is a huge difference between the two. A literature review is a discussion about a topic or a study that has been published already. On the other hand, a book review or also referred to as a book report, focuses on a book or an article. This focus on a singular source while a literature review makes use of multiple sources to have an in depth study of a particular topic.
Key Elements Needed in a Literature Review
Most literature reviews will be made up of 3 core components. They are the introduction, the body and the conclusion. However, there are also some elements that can be added to make the review credible as well as easy to comprehend.
Step by Step Process in Creating a Literature Review
Step 1: Select a Format or a Template
The first step in order to create an organized and strong literature review is to make use of formats or templates. This will allow the author or the user present the ideas and research in a clear and methodized manner. This type of document should be presented as visually pleasing as possible. This will allow the readers to be able to comprehend the review easily and without going back to read a statement again.
Step 2: Identify the Major Problem or the Main topic
After selecting a format, the first thing to do is to acquire or think of a topic or the problem that you would want to discuss and explain. Identify also the key element of the topic. What are the matters in question and the point of issue about the topic?
A tip that may help in choosing a topic is relating it to the current situation as of the moment. This will make sure that you will garner a huge crowd to read the review. Make sure that the topic is relevant to the society as of the moment. In some cases, other people opt to make a literature review about subject matters that they are passionate about. This will be a great help, especially if you have a prior knowledge about the subject matter at hand.
Step 3: Do an Extensive Research
After identifying the topic and the key elements included in that particular topic, do an extensive research about it. It is important that the sources you will use are relevant or in direct correlation with the topic. The resources you will have must be credible and reliable. It is a must to be thorough on checking if the articles or books you will be basing your review on is true and accurate. This is done in order for the actual review to be accurate and reliable.
Evaluate the materials or sources you have gathered and make sure to only utilize those that are of significant importance to your main topic.
It is also a must to do an extensive research that is against the review you are doing. This will give the author an idea about the point of view of the opposition. This way the author will be able to create a strong argument about his or her document.
Step 4: Interpretation of the Pieces of Information
A literature review will come from the point of view of the author. After reviewing and evaluating all the research papers you have gathered, it is a must that you create a literature review from your own words. How did you as the author of the review analyze the topic? How will you interpret it from your own understanding? It is not enough that you will only cite the research you gathered. It is a must that you exhaustively discuss the topic and thoroughly explain it from your own perspective.
Make use of the different elements stated above in order to come up with a solid piece of document. Take note to make the ideas as organized as possible. An organized paper will encourage the target audience or readers to finish reading the whole document.
Step 5: Proofread the Review
Before you will publish or submit the review, it is important to double check it. Thoroughly read over the document from start to finish in order to spot any errors you might have made. This is to make sure that there are no spelling or grammar errors done. This will also guarantee that the flow of sentences is organized and clear.
Purpose of a Literature Review
What Are the Different Types of Literature Reviews?
This type of review will focus on backing up an argument or proving an argument to be wrong. The most common type of this and the main purpose of this is to construct a review or document that will oppose the opinion of the study or paper with the authors point of view.
This type of review will integrate all the credible sources that are in relation with the topic or discussion. This will mainly lead to the formulation of a new research or to the realization of a new problem.
The main point of this is to look into research studies that are done in the past and compare it with the development that has happened. This will let people realize the path that the research takes and lead to more research in the near future.
This type of review will focus less on the sources or the content of the materials and focus more on the approach or method that the author of the paper used. This means that this will focus on how the author analyzes the problem or the topic. This will give the readers the opportunity to look at the review in a different level and perspective.
This type of review will make use of a standardized method and will make use of existing sources to identify and evaluate researches. This is mostly done in a cause and effect structure.
This will mainly focus on theories about certain topics. This will identify the theories as well as the relationship of different theories about a topic or discussion. This will lead to the formulation of a new hypothesis.
What Are the Ways in Organizing the Body of the Literature Review?
There are three common ways in organizing the ideas and sources stated in your body paragraphs. They can be arranged in a methodological order, in a thematic order or in a chronological order.
This is the type of arrangement that would not take into consideration the significant importance of a source or the date that they were published. Rather, this would look into a different criteria for organizing the materials. In this type of arrangement, it will be based on the author on how he or she will put into order the materials. The author will make use of his or her own strategy in organizing the materials. However, there should still be a clear and organized way of arranging the sources or materials.
In a thematic order, more often than not, the date that the source was published will be disregarded. In here, you will focus more on the topic and the significant importance of the source on the said topic. The publication date would not matter in this type of arrangement. Rather, it would arrange the sources or materials based on the essential pieces of information that they will contribute about the discussion or topic.
This means that you will be arranging the sources you have gathered based on the date that they were published. A chronological order may further be divided into two types. They are:
Chronological order by publication – This is the most common type of arrangement. This means that you will be arranging the sources purely based on their date of publication.
Chronological order by trend – This is the second type of arrangement. This will mean that you will make use of subsection. For example a book is published in the 1800s and 1900s then you find a source that was released in the early 2000s, you can integrate the latest study with the study published in the 1800s. It will then be considered as a supporting document or a subsection of that study.
What Is the Difference of a Systematic Review to a Literature Review?
A systematic review in general will take years to finish while a literature review can be completed in months. The difference in time is due to their scope. A systematic review will focus on answering the clinical question about the topic. On the other hand, a literature review provide an abstract or overview of the topic. In a systematic review there needs to be prior and thorough knowledge about the topic. While, in the literature review simple understanding of a topic will suffice.
In a literature review it is important to summarize and synthesize your point of view with the sources you have gathered. This will lead to the formulation of a clear and on point overview of the topic. Make use of the templates available above to have an outline and guide in constructing this type of review. Read the details as well in order to construct a detailed literature review.