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- How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.
What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .
There are five key steps to writing a literature review:
- Search for relevant literature
- Evaluate sources
- Identify themes, debates, and gaps
- Outline the structure
- Write your literature review
A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.
Table of contents
What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.
- Quick Run-through
- Step 1 & 2
When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:
- Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
- Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
- Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
- Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
- Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.
Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.
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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.
- Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
- Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
- Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
- Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)
You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.
Download Word doc Download Google doc
Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .
If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .
Make a list of keywords
Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.
- Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
- Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
- Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth
Search for relevant sources
Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:
- Your university’s library catalogue
- Google Scholar
- Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
- Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
- EconLit (economics)
- Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)
You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.
Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.
You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.
For each publication, ask yourself:
- What question or problem is the author addressing?
- What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
- What are the key theories, models, and methods?
- Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
- What are the results and conclusions of the study?
- How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?
Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.
You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.
Take notes and cite your sources
As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.
It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.
To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:
- Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
- Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
- Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
- Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
- Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?
This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.
- Most research has focused on young women.
- There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
- But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.
There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).
The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.
Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.
If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.
For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.
If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:
- Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
- Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources
A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.
You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.
Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.
The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.
Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.
As you write, you can follow these tips:
- Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts
In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.
When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !
This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.
Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.
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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
- Sampling methods
- Simple random sampling
- Stratified sampling
- Cluster sampling
- Likert scales
- Null hypothesis
- Statistical power
- Probability distribution
- Effect size
- Poisson distribution
- Optimism bias
- Cognitive bias
- Implicit bias
- Hawthorne effect
- Anchoring bias
- Explicit bias
A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .
It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.
There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:
- To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
- To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
- To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
- To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
- To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic
Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.
The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .
A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .
An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a paper .
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Literature Review Guide: Examples of Literature Reviews
- What is a Literature Review?
- How to start?
- Search strategies and Databases
- Examples of Literature Reviews
- How to organise the review
- Library summary
- Emerald Infographic
All good quality journal articles will include a small Literature Review after the Introduction paragraph. It may not be called a Literature Review but gives you an idea of how one is created in miniature.
Sample Literature Reviews as part of a articles or Theses
- Building Customer Loyalty: A Customer Experience Based Approach in a Tourism Context
- Sample Literature Review on Critical Thinking (Gwendolyn Reece, American University Library)
- Hackett, G and Melia, D . The hotel as the holiday/stay destination:trends and innovations. Presented at TRIC Conference, Belfast, Ireland- June 2012 and EuroCHRIE Conference
Links to sample Literature Reviews from other libraries
- Sample literature reviews from University of West Florida
Standalone Literature Reviews
- Attitudes towards the Disability in Ireland
- Martin, A., O'Connor-Fenelon, M. and Lyons, R. (2010). Non-verbal communication between nurses and people with an intellectual disability: A review of the literature. Journal of Intellectual Diabilities, 14(4), 303-314.
- Phillips, Martin (2015) European airline performance: a data envelopment analysis with extrapolations based on model outputs. Master of Business Studies thesis, Dublin City University.
- The customers’ perception of servicescape’s influence on their behaviours, in the food retail industry : Dublin Business School 2015
- Coughlan, Ray (2015) What was the role of leadership in the transformation of a failing Irish Insurance business. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.
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- Next: Tutorials >>
- Last Updated: Oct 19, 2023 3:45 PM
- URL: https://ait.libguides.com/literaturereview
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How to Make a Literature Review in Research (RRL Example)
What is an RRL in a research paper?
A relevant review of the literature (RRL) is an objective, concise, critical summary of published research literature relevant to a topic being researched in an article. In an RRL, you discuss knowledge and findings from existing literature relevant to your study topic. If there are conflicts or gaps in existing literature, you can also discuss these in your review, as well as how you will confront these missing elements or resolve these issues in your study.
To complete an RRL, you first need to collect relevant literature; this can include online and offline sources. Save all of your applicable resources as you will need to include them in your paper. When looking through these sources, take notes and identify concepts of each source to describe in the review of the literature.
A good RRL does NOT:
A literature review does not simply reference and list all of the material you have cited in your paper.
- Presenting material that is not directly relevant to your study will distract and frustrate the reader and make them lose sight of the purpose of your study.
- Starting a literature review with “A number of scholars have studied the relationship between X and Y” and simply listing who has studied the topic and what each scholar concluded is not going to strengthen your paper.
A good RRL DOES:
- Present a brief typology that orders articles and books into groups to help readers focus on unresolved debates, inconsistencies, tensions, and new questions about a research topic.
- Summarize the most relevant and important aspects of the scientific literature related to your area of research
- Synthesize what has been done in this area of research and by whom, highlight what previous research indicates about a topic, and identify potential gaps and areas of disagreement in the field
- Give the reader an understanding of the background of the field and show which studies are important—and highlight errors in previous studies
How long is a review of the literature for a research paper?
The length of a review of the literature depends on its purpose and target readership and can vary significantly in scope and depth. In a dissertation, thesis, or standalone review of literature, it is usually a full chapter of the text (at least 20 pages). Whereas, a standard research article or school assignment literature review section could only be a few paragraphs in the Introduction section .
Building Your Literature Review Bookshelf
One way to conceive of a literature review is to think about writing it as you would build a bookshelf. You don’t need to cut each piece by yourself from scratch. Rather, you can take the pieces that other researchers have cut out and put them together to build a framework on which to hang your own “books”—that is, your own study methods, results, and conclusions.
What Makes a Good Literature Review?
The contents of a literature review (RRL) are determined by many factors, including its precise purpose in the article, the degree of consensus with a given theory or tension between competing theories, the length of the article, the number of previous studies existing in the given field, etc. The following are some of the most important elements that a literature review provides.
Historical background for your research
Analyze what has been written about your field of research to highlight what is new and significant in your study—or how the analysis itself contributes to the understanding of this field, even in a small way. Providing a historical background also demonstrates to other researchers and journal editors your competency in discussing theoretical concepts. You should also make sure to understand how to paraphrase scientific literature to avoid plagiarism in your work.
The current context of your research
Discuss central (or peripheral) questions, issues, and debates in the field. Because a field is constantly being updated by new work, you can show where your research fits into this context and explain developments and trends in research.
A discussion of relevant theories and concepts
Theories and concepts should provide the foundation for your research. For example, if you are researching the relationship between ecological environments and human populations, provide models and theories that focus on specific aspects of this connection to contextualize your study. If your study asks a question concerning sustainability, mention a theory or model that underpins this concept. If it concerns invasive species, choose material that is focused in this direction.
Definitions of relevant terminology
In the natural sciences, the meaning of terms is relatively straightforward and consistent. But if you present a term that is obscure or context-specific, you should define the meaning of the term in the Introduction section (if you are introducing a study) or in the summary of the literature being reviewed.
Description of related relevant research
Include a description of related research that shows how your work expands or challenges earlier studies or fills in gaps in previous work. You can use your literature review as evidence of what works, what doesn’t, and what is missing in the field.
Supporting evidence for a practical problem or issue your research is addressing that demonstrates its importance: Referencing related research establishes your area of research as reputable and shows you are building upon previous work that other researchers have deemed significant.
Types of Literature Reviews
Literature reviews can differ in structure, length, amount, and breadth of content included. They can range from selective (a very narrow area of research or only a single work) to comprehensive (a larger amount or range of works). They can also be part of a larger work or stand on their own.
- A course assignment is an example of a selective, stand-alone work. It focuses on a small segment of the literature on a topic and makes up an entire work on its own.
- The literature review in a dissertation or thesis is both comprehensive and helps make up a larger work.
- A majority of journal articles start with a selective literature review to provide context for the research reported in the study; such a literature review is usually included in the Introduction section (but it can also follow the presentation of the results in the Discussion section ).
- Some literature reviews are both comprehensive and stand as a separate work—in this case, the entire article analyzes the literature on a given topic.
Literature Reviews Found in Academic Journals
The two types of literature reviews commonly found in journals are those introducing research articles (studies and surveys) and stand-alone literature analyses. They can differ in their scope, length, and specific purpose.
Literature reviews introducing research articles
The literature review found at the beginning of a journal article is used to introduce research related to the specific study and is found in the Introduction section, usually near the end. It is shorter than a stand-alone review because it must be limited to very specific studies and theories that are directly relevant to the current study. Its purpose is to set research precedence and provide support for the study’s theory, methods, results, and/or conclusions. Not all research articles contain an explicit review of the literature, but most do, whether it is a discrete section or indistinguishable from the rest of the Introduction.
How to structure a literature review for an article
When writing a literature review as part of an introduction to a study, simply follow the structure of the Introduction and move from the general to the specific—presenting the broadest background information about a topic first and then moving to specific studies that support your rationale , finally leading to your hypothesis statement. Such a literature review is often indistinguishable from the Introduction itself—the literature is INTRODUCING the background and defining the gaps your study aims to fill.
The stand-alone literature review
The literature review published as a stand-alone article presents and analyzes as many of the important publications in an area of study as possible to provide background information and context for a current area of research or a study. Stand-alone reviews are an excellent resource for researchers when they are first searching for the most relevant information on an area of study.
Such literature reviews are generally a bit broader in scope and can extend further back in time. This means that sometimes a scientific literature review can be highly theoretical, in addition to focusing on specific methods and outcomes of previous studies. In addition, all sections of such a “review article” refer to existing literature rather than describing the results of the authors’ own study.
In addition, this type of literature review is usually much longer than the literature review introducing a study. At the end of the review follows a conclusion that once again explicitly ties all of the cited works together to show how this analysis is itself a contribution to the literature. While not absolutely necessary, such articles often include the terms “Literature Review” or “Review of the Literature” in the title. Whether or not that is necessary or appropriate can also depend on the specific author instructions of the target journal. Have a look at this article for more input on how to compile a stand-alone review article that is insightful and helpful for other researchers in your field.
How to Write a Literature Review in 6 Steps
So how do authors turn a network of articles into a coherent review of relevant literature?
Writing a literature review is not usually a linear process—authors often go back and check the literature while reformulating their ideas or making adjustments to their study. Sometimes new findings are published before a study is completed and need to be incorporated into the current work. This also means you will not be writing the literature review at any one time, but constantly working on it before, during, and after your study is complete.
Here are some steps that will help you begin and follow through on your literature review.
Step 1: Choose a topic to write about—focus on and explore this topic.
Choose a topic that you are familiar with and highly interested in analyzing; a topic your intended readers and researchers will find interesting and useful; and a topic that is current, well-established in the field, and about which there has been sufficient research conducted for a review. This will help you find the “sweet spot” for what to focus on.
Step 2: Research and collect all the scholarly information on the topic that might be pertinent to your study.
This includes scholarly articles, books, conventions, conferences, dissertations, and theses—these and any other academic work related to your area of study is called “the literature.”
Step 3: Analyze the network of information that extends or responds to the major works in your area; select the material that is most useful.
Use thought maps and charts to identify intersections in the research and to outline important categories; select the material that will be most useful to your review.
Step 4: Describe and summarize each article—provide the essential information of the article that pertains to your study.
Determine 2-3 important concepts (depending on the length of your article) that are discussed in the literature; take notes about all of the important aspects of this study relevant to the topic being reviewed.
For example, in a given study, perhaps some of the main concepts are X, Y, and Z. Note these concepts and then write a brief summary about how the article incorporates them. In reviews that introduce a study, these can be relatively short. In stand-alone reviews, there may be significantly more texts and more concepts.
Step 5: Demonstrate how these concepts in the literature relate to what you discovered in your study or how the literature connects the concepts or topics being discussed.
In a literature review intro for an article, this information might include a summary of the results or methods of previous studies that correspond to and/or confirm those sections in your own study. For a stand-alone literature review, this may mean highlighting the concepts in each article and showing how they strengthen a hypothesis or show a pattern.
Discuss unaddressed issues in previous studies. These studies that are missing something you address are important to include in your literature review. In addition, those works whose theories and conclusions directly support your findings will be valuable to review here.
Step 6: Identify relationships in the literature and develop and connect your own ideas to them.
This is essentially the same as step 5 but focused on the connections between the literature and the current study or guiding concepts or arguments of the paper, not only on the connections between the works themselves.
Your hypothesis, argument, or guiding concept is the “golden thread” that will ultimately tie the works together and provide readers with specific insights they didn’t have before reading your literature review. Make sure you know where to put the research question , hypothesis, or statement of the problem in your research paper so that you guide your readers logically and naturally from your introduction of earlier work and evidence to the conclusions you want them to draw from the bigger picture.
Your literature review will not only cover publications on your topics but will include your own ideas and contributions. By following these steps you will be telling the specific story that sets the background and shows the significance of your research and you can turn a network of related works into a focused review of the literature.
Literature Review (RRL) Examples
Because creating sample literature reviews would take too long and not properly capture the nuances and detailed information needed for a good review, we have included some links to different types of literature reviews below. You can find links to more literature reviews in these categories by visiting the TUS Library’s website . Sample literature reviews as part of an article, dissertation, or thesis:
- Critical Thinking and Transferability: A Review of the Literature (Gwendolyn Reece)
- Building Customer Loyalty: A Customer Experience Based Approach in a Tourism Context (Martina Donnelly)
Sample stand-alone literature reviews
- Literature Review on Attitudes towards Disability (National Disability Authority)
- The Effects of Communication Styles on Marital Satisfaction (Hannah Yager)
Additional Literature Review Format Guidelines
In addition to the content guidelines above, authors also need to check which style guidelines to use ( APA , Chicago, MLA, etc.) and what specific rules the target journal might have for how to structure such articles or how many studies to include—such information can usually be found on the journals’ “Guide for Authors” pages. Additionally, use one of the four Wordvice citation generators below, choosing the citation style needed for your paper:
Wordvice Writing and Academic Editing Resources
Finally, after you have finished drafting your literature review, be sure to receive professional proofreading services , including paper editing for your academic work. A competent proofreader who understands academic writing conventions and the specific style guides used by academic journals will ensure that your paper is ready for publication in your target journal.
See our academic resources for further advice on references in your paper , how to write an abstract , how to write a research paper title, how to impress the editor of your target journal with a perfect cover letter , and dozens of other research writing and publication topics.
15 Literature Review Examples
Literature reviews are a necessary step in a research process and often required when writing your research proposal . They involve gathering, analyzing, and evaluating existing knowledge about a topic in order to find gaps in the literature where future studies will be needed.
Ideally, once you have completed your literature review, you will be able to identify how your research project can build upon and extend existing knowledge in your area of study.
Generally, for my undergraduate research students, I recommend a narrative review, where themes can be generated in order for the students to develop sufficient understanding of the topic so they can build upon the themes using unique methods or novel research questions.
For more advanced students and scholars, literature reviews like systematic and meta-analyses may be more fitting, especially if the review is not to identify potential areas of research but to present practical and clinical recommendations based directly upon a reading of the literature.
Literature Review Examples
For the following types of literature review, I present an explanation and overview of the type, followed by links to some real-life literature reviews on the topics.
1. Narrative Review Examples
Also known as a traditional literature review, the narrative review provides a broad overview of the studies done on a particular topic.
It often includes both qualitative and quantitative studies and may cover a wide range of years.
The narrative review’s purpose is to identify commonalities, gaps, and contradictions in the literature .
I recommend to my students that they should gather their studies together, take notes on each study, then try to group them by themes that form the basis for the review (see my step-by-step instructions at the end of the article).
Title: Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations
Citation: Vermeir, P., Vandijck, D., Degroote, S., Peleman, R., Verhaeghe, R., Mortier, E., … & Vogelaers, D. (2015). Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations. International journal of clinical practice , 69 (11), 1257-1267.
Overview: This narrative review analyzed themes emerging from 69 articles about communication in healthcare contexts. Five key themes were found in the literature: poor communication can lead to various negative outcomes, discontinuity of care, compromise of patient safety, patient dissatisfaction, and inefficient use of resources. After presenting the key themes, the authors recommend that practitioners need to approach healthcare communication in a more structured way, such as by ensuring there is a clear understanding of who is in charge of ensuring effective communication in clinical settings.
- Burnout in United States Healthcare Professionals: A Narrative Review (Reith, 2018) – read here
- Examining the Presence, Consequences, and Reduction of Implicit Bias in Health Care: A Narrative Review (Zestcott, Blair & Stone, 2016) – read here
- A Narrative Review of School-Based Physical Activity for Enhancing Cognition and Learning (Mavilidi et al., 2018) – read here
- A narrative review on burnout experienced by medical students and residents (Dyrbye & Shanafelt, 2015) – read here
2. Systematic Review Examples
This type of literature review is more structured and rigorous than a narrative review. It involves a detailed and comprehensive plan and search strategy derived from a set of specified research questions.
The key way you’d know a systematic review compared to a narrative review is in the methodology: the systematic review will likely have a very clear criteria for how the studies were collected, and clear explanations of exclusion/inclusion criteria.
The goal is to gather the maximum amount of valid literature on the topic, filter out invalid or low-quality reviews, and minimize bias. Ideally, this will provide more reliable findings, leading to higher-quality conclusions and recommendations for further research.
You may note from the examples below that the ‘method’ sections in systematic reviews tend to be much more explicit, often noting rigid inclusion/exclusion criteria and exact keywords used in searches.
Title: The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review
Citation: Roman, S., Sánchez-Siles, L. M., & Siegrist, M. (2017). The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review. Trends in food science & technology , 67 , 44-57.
Overview: This systematic review included 72 studies of food naturalness to explore trends in the literature about its importance for consumers. Keywords used in the data search included: food, naturalness, natural content, and natural ingredients. Studies were included if they examined consumers’ preference for food naturalness and contained empirical data. The authors found that the literature lacks clarity about how naturalness is defined and measured, but also found that food consumption is significantly influenced by perceived naturalness of goods.
- A systematic review of research on online teaching and learning from 2009 to 2018 (Martin, Sun & Westine, 2020) – read here
- Where Is Current Research on Blockchain Technology? (Yli-Huumo et al., 2016) – read here
- Universities—industry collaboration: A systematic review (Ankrah & Al-Tabbaa, 2015) – read here
- Internet of Things Applications: A Systematic Review (Asghari, Rahmani & Javadi, 2019) – read here
This is a type of systematic review that uses statistical methods to combine and summarize the results of several studies.
Due to its robust methodology, a meta-analysis is often considered the ‘gold standard’ of secondary research , as it provides a more precise estimate of a treatment effect than any individual study contributing to the pooled analysis.
Furthermore, by aggregating data from a range of studies, a meta-analysis can identify patterns, disagreements, or other interesting relationships that may have been hidden in individual studies.
This helps to enhance the generalizability of findings, making the conclusions drawn from a meta-analysis particularly powerful and informative for policy and practice.
Title: Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease Risk: A Meta-Meta-Analysis
Citation: Sáiz-Vazquez, O., Puente-Martínez, A., Ubillos-Landa, S., Pacheco-Bonrostro, J., & Santabárbara, J. (2020). Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: a meta-meta-analysis. Brain sciences, 10(6), 386.
O verview: This study examines the relationship between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Researchers conducted a systematic search of meta-analyses and reviewed several databases, collecting 100 primary studies and five meta-analyses to analyze the connection between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease. They find that the literature compellingly demonstrates that low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels significantly influence the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- The power of feedback revisited: A meta-analysis of educational feedback research (Wisniewski, Zierer & Hattie, 2020) – read here
- How Much Does Education Improve Intelligence? A Meta-Analysis (Ritchie & Tucker-Drob, 2018) – read here
- A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling (Geiger et al., 2019) – read here
- Stress management interventions for police officers and recruits (Patterson, Chung & Swan, 2014) – read here
Other Types of Reviews
- Scoping Review: This type of review is used to map the key concepts underpinning a research area and the main sources and types of evidence available. It can be undertaken as stand-alone projects in their own right, or as a precursor to a systematic review.
- Rapid Review: This type of review accelerates the systematic review process in order to produce information in a timely manner. This is achieved by simplifying or omitting stages of the systematic review process.
- Integrative Review: This review method is more inclusive than others, allowing for the simultaneous inclusion of experimental and non-experimental research. The goal is to more comprehensively understand a particular phenomenon.
- Critical Review: This is similar to a narrative review but requires a robust understanding of both the subject and the existing literature. In a critical review, the reviewer not only summarizes the existing literature, but also evaluates its strengths and weaknesses. This is common in the social sciences and humanities .
- State-of-the-Art Review: This considers the current level of advancement in a field or topic and makes recommendations for future research directions. This type of review is common in technological and scientific fields but can be applied to any discipline.
How to Write a Narrative Review (Tips for Undergrad Students)
Most undergraduate students conducting a capstone research project will be writing narrative reviews. Below is a five-step process for conducting a simple review of the literature for your project.
- Search for Relevant Literature: Use scholarly databases related to your field of study, provided by your university library, along with appropriate search terms to identify key scholarly articles that have been published on your topic.
- Evaluate and Select Sources: Filter the source list by selecting studies that are directly relevant and of sufficient quality, considering factors like credibility , objectivity, accuracy, and validity.
- Analyze and Synthesize: Review each source and summarize the main arguments in one paragraph (or more, for postgrad). Keep these summaries in a table.
- Identify Themes: With all studies summarized, group studies that share common themes, such as studies that have similar findings or methodologies.
- Write the Review: Write your review based upon the themes or subtopics you have identified. Give a thorough overview of each theme, integrating source data, and conclude with a summary of the current state of knowledge then suggestions for future research based upon your evaluation of what is lacking in the literature.
Literature reviews don’t have to be as scary as they seem. Yes, they are difficult and require a strong degree of comprehension of academic studies. But it can be feasibly done through following a structured approach to data collection and analysis. With my undergraduate research students (who tend to conduct small-scale qualitative studies ), I encourage them to conduct a narrative literature review whereby they can identify key themes in the literature. Within each theme, students can critique key studies and their strengths and limitations , in order to get a lay of the land and come to a point where they can identify ways to contribute new insights to the existing academic conversation on their topic.
Ankrah, S., & Omar, A. T. (2015). Universities–industry collaboration: A systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(3), 387-408.
Asghari, P., Rahmani, A. M., & Javadi, H. H. S. (2019). Internet of Things applications: A systematic review. Computer Networks , 148 , 241-261.
Dyrbye, L., & Shanafelt, T. (2016). A narrative review on burnout experienced by medical students and residents. Medical education , 50 (1), 132-149.
Geiger, J. L., Steg, L., Van Der Werff, E., & Ünal, A. B. (2019). A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling. Journal of environmental psychology , 64 , 78-97.
Martin, F., Sun, T., & Westine, C. D. (2020). A systematic review of research on online teaching and learning from 2009 to 2018. Computers & education , 159 , 104009.
Mavilidi, M. F., Ruiter, M., Schmidt, M., Okely, A. D., Loyens, S., Chandler, P., & Paas, F. (2018). A narrative review of school-based physical activity for enhancing cognition and learning: The importance of relevancy and integration. Frontiers in psychology , 2079.
Patterson, G. T., Chung, I. W., & Swan, P. W. (2014). Stress management interventions for police officers and recruits: A meta-analysis. Journal of experimental criminology , 10 , 487-513.
Reith, T. P. (2018). Burnout in United States healthcare professionals: a narrative review. Cureus , 10 (12).
Ritchie, S. J., & Tucker-Drob, E. M. (2018). How much does education improve intelligence? A meta-analysis. Psychological science , 29 (8), 1358-1369.
Roman, S., Sánchez-Siles, L. M., & Siegrist, M. (2017). The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review. Trends in food science & technology , 67 , 44-57.
Sáiz-Vazquez, O., Puente-Martínez, A., Ubillos-Landa, S., Pacheco-Bonrostro, J., & Santabárbara, J. (2020). Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: a meta-meta-analysis. Brain sciences, 10(6), 386.
Vermeir, P., Vandijck, D., Degroote, S., Peleman, R., Verhaeghe, R., Mortier, E., … & Vogelaers, D. (2015). Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations. International journal of clinical practice , 69 (11), 1257-1267.
Wisniewski, B., Zierer, K., & Hattie, J. (2020). The power of feedback revisited: A meta-analysis of educational feedback research. Frontiers in Psychology , 10 , 3087.
Yli-Huumo, J., Ko, D., Choi, S., Park, S., & Smolander, K. (2016). Where is current research on blockchain technology?—a systematic review. PloS one , 11 (10), e0163477.
Zestcott, C. A., Blair, I. V., & Stone, J. (2016). Examining the presence, consequences, and reduction of implicit bias in health care: a narrative review. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations , 19 (4), 528-542
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
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- 1. RESEARCH ON LEARNING FROM TELEVISION reviews of the literature are helpful for synthesizing findings. Individual studies contribute a point of view and define variables, but it takes a review to examine Barbara Seels each study in light of others. Fortunately, there have been many outstanding University of Pittsburgh reviews of the literature. For example, Reid and MacLennan (1967) and Chu and Karen Fullerton Schramm (1968) did comprehensive reviews of learning from television that included studies on utilization. Aletha Huston-Stein (1972) wrote a chapter for Celeron Consultants the National Society for the Study of Education (NSSE) yearbook on Early Louis Berry Childhood Education entitled Mass Media and Young Children‟s Development University of Pittsburgh which presented a conceptual framework for studying television‟s effects. In 1975, the Rand Corporation published three books by George Comstock that Laura J. Horn reviewed pertinent scientific literature, key studies, and the state of research. Jerome and Dorothy Singer reviewed the implications of research for children‟s 12.1.1 Relevance to Instructional Technology cognition, imagination, and emotion (Singer & Singer, 1983). In that article, they Research on learning from television encompasses more than formal described the trend toward studying cognitive processes and formal features. By instruction. This body of research addresses learning in home as well as school 1989, the American Psychological Association had produced a synthesis of the environments. Many of the findings are relevant to the instructional technologist; literature tided Big World, Small Screen. for example, research on formal features* yields guidelines for message design. Other reviews have concentrated on special areas like reading skills Instructional technologists can both promote students‟ learning to regulate and (Williams, 1986); cognitive development (Anderson & Collins, 1988); reinforce their own viewing* and educate parents and teachers about media instructional television (Cambre, 1987); and violence (Liebert & Sprafkin, 1988). utilization. Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers offers a series of volumes edited by Dolf Zillmann In addition, instructional technologists are also responsible for and Jennings Bryant on research and theory about television effects. Light and recommending and supporting policy that affects television utilization. The Pillemer (1984) argue against the single decisive study approach and propose literature provides support for policy positions related to (a) control of reviews around a specific research question that starts by reporting the main advertising and violence, (b) parent and teacher training, (c) provision of special effects, then reports special circumstances that affect outcomes, and finishes by programming, and (d) media literacy education. reporting special effects on particular types of people. This integrated research strategy is especially appropriate for reviews of research on television effects. Researchers in instructional technology can determine gaps in the theoretical base by using reviews such as this. In the future, more research that relates 12.3.6 Current Issues variables studied by psychologists to variables studied by educators will be Contemporary research in the cognitive effects of the television medium has required in order to identify guidelines for interventions and programming. generally continued along the same agendas as in previous decades. Additional 126.96.36.199 Review Articles and Books research into the nature of the television viewing act has further confirmed the active theoretical approach. Recent researchers have explored the role of the Despite such long-term efforts, much of the literature on television lacks auditory message and reported findings that demonstrate the power of audio cues connection to other findings (Clark, 1983, 1994; Richey, 1986). The conceptual in helping children identify critical information in the visual track which direct theory necessary to explain the relationship among variables is still evolving. their attention to comprehensible program content. Research has shown that the Because of this, consumers of the literature are sometimes overwhelmed and relationship between attention and comprehension, previously identified, is a unable to make decisions related to interactions in the television viewing system complex and interactive process which relies on both visual and auditory of programming, environment, and behavior. Comprehensive and specialized information as well as prior knowledge of content (Bickham, Wright, & Huston,
- 2. 2000). Researchers have also addressed the variable of comprehension in recent their self-efficacy may translate to a stronger sense of their role as a civic research. Studies by Clifford, Gunter, and McAleer (1995) found that children participant. demonstrate different information processing and conceptualizing abilities than To watch or not to watch? That is the question. do older individuals, and they caution that much of this area has received little Identifying the common characteristics of the reality television viewing audience. research attention. Further work by Kelly and Spear (1991) indicated that comprehension could be improved by the addition of viewing aids such as Presented to the Faculty synopses, which are placed at strategic points in the program. Research involving Liberty University the use of closed captioning for deaf students demonstrated the critical nature of School of Communication the audio track in facilitating comprehension of television program content as In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the well as the beneficial effects of such captioning for all students ( Jelinek- Lewis Master of Arts & Jackson, 2001). In Communication Studies TCC 2011 Proceedings By Laura M. Sipple The Effect of Reality TV on Civic Behaviors May 1, 2008 Fanning Elizabeth University of Virginia CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW Reality Show Viewers Charlottesville, VA, USA [email protected] Why are so many people tuning in to view these programs and who are the people that continue to watch each season? While research relating to reality Related Theory and Studies television is relatively new, several studies have been conducted in relation to viewer characteristics, media effects, realism and gratifications. However, due to Social Learning Theory the popularity of fictional crime, detective dramas and police work, most of the Social learning is a behavioral modelling technique that uses the context of a earliest research relied heavily on these types of series including shows such as social group or setting and the resulting group dynamics to teach social, COPS and America‟s Most Wanted. (Oliver & Armstrong, 1; Andrejevic). emotional, and practical competencies (Bandura, 1969, 1977). This group Previous research has briefly explored why viewers watch certain programs dynamic encourages a similar reflexive quality in self-perception, and contributes but has been limited in their sampling sizes or program selections. In Oliver and to the learner‟s sense of self-efficacy (Ibid, 1997). This developing self-efficacy Armstrong‟s study, the data focused primarily on crime shows (COPS and bolsters the learner‟s confidence and willingness to further explore and engage in America‟s Most Wanted) and did not consider other types of reality programs for certain behaviors (Ibid), and to choose activities or behaviors in which the their study. Random telephone surveys were conducted in Wisconsin and learners feels they will be successful (Ormond, 1999). Virginia in areas centered on large universities and only adults who were not full- Online social networks are rich with opportunities for social learning, with time students participated. Researchers sought to identify why viewers enjoyed the group dynamics of the discussion boards and blog postings driving and watching reality-based, fictional crime programs. (561) setting the terms for acceptable attitudes and behaviors, along with participant Reiss & Wiltz‟s study utilized a questionnaire format and chose human ratings providing immediate feedback. Similarly, if through participating in the service workers and college students as participants. Five specific reality shows social networks surrounding the television show American Idol, people learn that were noted on the questionnaire and included Survivor, Big Brother, Temptation they can change the outcome of an episode through their opinions and voting, Island, The Mole, and The Real World. Researchers chose these five shows based on the “low level of morals found on the shows and the exploitation of the
- 3. participants as well as their appeal to a viewer‟s basic human quest for truth and as these arose, a shift in research was directed to what viewers do with media, need for genuineness.” (370) Again, only a limited number of reality shows were rather than what media does to people. (Klapper 27). addressed in this study and two groups of participants were selected. According to a recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research, “Reality In the study conducted by Nabi, Biely, Morgan and Stitt, only Arizona TV allows viewers to imagine themselves as actual participants.” (Rose & Wood) residents who were awaiting jury duty participated in the study. And most The authors continue their discussion by assessing that viewer‟s blend fact with recently, a study conducted in 2006 by Alice Hall addressed the audience‟s fantasy, a term they have coined “hyper-authenticity.” In these cases, viewers understanding of the “nature, realism and gratifications” of reality show compare and contrast their lives to the participant's lives depicted onscreen. programs. (191) the study participants included college students at an urban Midwestern university, with an average age of twenty three. Here again, the Other research has shown viewers may have a voyeuristic nature (Johnson participants chosen were limited. While the results of these studies are useful to 56). However, this is a claim that Nabi, Biely, Morgan and Stitt refutes. further understand the nature of audiences, more diversity among participants According to their study, voyeurism was not evident in the data. “Viewers could have produced results that may be applied more universally in the field. wanted to watch other people, but did not see something the characters didn‟t want them to see.” (324) In this study, regular television programs as well as Some research, including work conducted by Katz, Blumer & Gurevitch, seven specific reality-based programs -- Survivor, Real World, A Wedding Story, takes a psychological perspective and utilizes the uses and gratification theory. Temptation Island, The Mole, Blind Date and COPS -- represented a variety of According to this theory, the audience is active and media is goal-directed. The sub-categories of the reality show genre. The results indicated that regular audience has specific expectations and these expectations motivate their choice viewers note that reality television programs are “novel,” “suspenseful” and of media. Media is in competition with other sources for satisfaction and viewers enjoy their “unscripted nature” and “watch because they are entertained” individuals are aware of these needs and audience media selections and whereas casual viewers watch out of “curiosity and entertainment.” (320). In subsequent gratifications are known and able to be effectively communicated. addition, very few differences were found among participants in regard to race, (Grossberg, Wartella & Whitney 266-267) sex or age. This approach has been taken by Nabi, Biely, Morgan and Stitt in the study Reiss and Wiltz concurred with Nabi, Biely, Morgan and Stitt and took the of reality television -“what it is, how it differs from other types of programs and research a step further to locate unique motivations for each individual. Their who watches it and why.” (324) specifically, the study focused on the following study was based on Reiss‟ theory of human behavior, more specifically “16 basic gratifications identified by Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch: “diversion,” “personal desires.” Based on Aristotle‟s means and ends, and a variation of the “uses and relationships,” “personal identity” and “surveillance.” (312) Results indicated gratification” approach, Reiss expands the theory to include 16 fundamental that the gratification for regular viewers exceeded those of casual viewers and meanings of human life and suggests all goals in life can be categorized into one regular viewers needed to be entertained versus casual viewers who watched in of the following categories: “power, curiosity, independence, status, social hopes of “alleviating boredom.” (325). contact, vengeance, honor, idealism, physical exercise, romance, family, order, eating, acceptance, tranquillity and saving.” While this theory has been accepted, cited repeatedly and has propelled other theories, it has been criticized by other scholars. (O‟Guinn & Faber). Criticisms According to Reiss and Wiltz, “if we could identify the most basic or included the lack of clarity, the nature of the audience, and reliance on the data, fundamental motives of human life, we may be able to connect these motives to specifically, reliance on self-reports. (Anderson &Meyer; Swanson; Sparks) In desires to pay attention to various media experiences.” (364) Their results response to these criticisms, R.B. Rubin identified the following six reasons why showed that status was the main motivational factor in determining what program children watched television: learning, habit, companionship, escape, arousal and to watch. “The more status-oriented people are, the more likely they are to view relaxation. This aided in addressing the problem of applying the research to other reality television and report pleasure and enjoyment.” (373) They also found that areas (lack of clarity), and helped to address data validity. When questions such particular shows may appeal to different psychological needs. For example,
- 4. Survivor may appeal to those who are more competitive in nature, thus filling the we cannot, or have not yet had the chance to, experience in person; trying on need for vengeance. (374). alternative identities; or otherwise adopting the goals, feelings, or thoughts imagined to be those of the target of our identification. Whether this vicarious Other studies focus on the personal connections that a viewer can potentially experience results in overt behavior or takes on a more purely imaginative form, make with a specific person being portrayed on television shows, not on the it is this vicarious experience that makes identification central.” (249). reasons or motivations they may receive for watching a specific program. This approach to the study of television audiences addresses the process known as In an attempt to measure identification, Cohen has developed the following identification. four dimensions of identification: “(1) empathy or sharing the feelings of the character, (2) a cognitive aspect that is manifest in sharing the perspective of the While no studies specifically mentioned the use of identification as an character, (3) motivational -- addresses the degree to which the audience member audience response to reality programs in the United States, studies linking the internalizes and shares the goals of the character and (4) the absorption or the process of identification between audiences and television programs exist. Rubin degree to which self-awareness is lost during exposure to the text.” (256) R.B. & McHugh (290) saw that the longer an audience member is exposed to a character, the more likely they are able to imagine themselves as that character. Hussmann, Lagerspetz & Eron, discovered that children who identified with aggressive television characters increased their learning of aggressive behavior. Some scholars contend that identification can occur after the viewing has Many studies have been conducted to evaluate an audience‟s identification with taken place. Resengren noted that “equally or even more important are those television characters (Chory-Assad Cicchirillo 154), fictional characters (Hoorn relationships which extend beyond the moment of viewing ... „long term & Konijn 255), and national identity (Creeber 31) however, only one study identification‟ with one or more of the personae of the media world.” (349) specifically addressed the process of identification in relation to reality television programs (Aslama & Pantti 52); and this was a study conducted in Finland. Early studies conducted on identification took on a psychological approach and focused on a child‟s need for identification and how it related to the Results indicated that the construction of national identity was intentional on the formation of one‟s social identity (Freud; Erikson). part of the producers and that some details, perhaps unintentional, also contributed to the formation of national identity. Kenneth Burke took the process a few steps further conducting extensive REALITY TV AND INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP PERCEPTIONS research on the subject of identification and believed that the process of identification occurs when “one individual shares the interests of another A Dissertation presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School at the University of individual or believes that he or she shares the interest of another.” (Burke 180). Missouri Columbia Herbert Kelman accepted Burke‟s research but added the process of persuasion and included that in identification as well. He claims that an individual goes In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy through a three-stage process of identification: 1) compliance, 2) identification, By KRISTIN L. CHERRY and 3) internalization. During this three-stage process, identification can take on Dr. Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, Dissertation Supervisor one of two forms. The first form can be “classical - attempts to be like or actually MAY 2008 be the other person” (Kelman 63). Secondly, Kelman says the individual may take the “recipricol role of identification - the roles of two parties are defined Literature Review Reality Television Research with reference to one another.” (64). Reality television programming has been around since the first broadcast of Cohen has defined identification as “an imaginative process through which Candid Camera in the late 1940‟s. It has not been until recently that these types an audience member assumes the identity, goals, and perspective of a character” of shows have gained immense popularity. The debut of Survivor in 2000 has (Cohen 261). He continues by discussing an individual taking on a vicarious been credited with beginning the infiltration of reality programming in the experience. “Vicarious experience may take various forms: experiencing things current television landscape
- 5. (Rowen, 2000). Individuals are embracing this genre of television within this genre. They include: romantic, talent, quiz, and game (Bailey & programming as a relatively permanent fixture in television programming. In Barbato, 2003). In this study, I will examine not only reality television viewing 2003 the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences added "Best Reality Show" as a whole, but also exposure to subgenres of reality television. as an Emmy category (Rowen, 2000). This has led to the development of many types of reality programming formats. While the research in this area is relatively Some research has sought to discover why people watch reality television. limited despite the recent surge in reality programming, in what follows I aim to Reiss and Wiltz (2004) asked individuals to rate themselves on Reiss's 16 basic summarize previous research in this area. life motives and also to report how much they viewed reality programs and how much they enjoyed these shows. Results indicated that the appeal to reality The increase in reality programming is undoubtedly related to with the television programs was dependent on the amount of reality television watched. increasing number of cable channels, which allows advertisers to reach niche The more reality programs an individual reported liking, the more status oriented markets (Hiebert & Gibbons, 2000). The majority of reality television they were, they placed a higher value on vengeance, were more motivated by programming is geared towards the individuals under twentyfive years old social life, less motivated by honor, more focused on order, and more concerned (Frank, 2003). MTV has been presenting the Real World to this target younger with romance. The reality television shows that people prefer to watch are those demographic for more than ten years. Frank (2003) suggests that younger that stimulate the motives people intrinsically value the most. viewers are drawn to these shows because they depict characters and situations that are relevant to their everyday lives. However, it was not until the debut of Hall (2006) conducted focus groups to understand why participants enjoy Survivor in the year 2000 (Rowen, 2000), that reality television has gained a spot watching reality TV programming. Participants enjoyed reality shows most on network primetime television, where the reality genre shows began to target because of their humor and suspense. Reality programs were also found to found an older demographic (Rowen, 2000). There is a variety of shows that still target to fulfill social functions for the viewers. Respondents reported watching with the younger demographic, but now there are more shows that target a much wider friends and talking with friends about the reality shows they watched. demographic. For example, network primetime shows such as The Apprentice Participants indicated that their view of reality TV programming as realistic was target the 1849 demographic (Rowen, 2000). Therefore, it is most likely that a fluid. The criteria were different from show to show and changed as new shows greater range of individuals are watching reality television today than in the past. were broadcast. Therefore, perceived reality may be a difficult concept to measure. Nabi et al. (2003) examined the genre of reality television programming itself. Multidimensional space analysis, of all television shows, indicates that Papacharissi and Mendelson (2007) examine the gratifications sought from reality television is a genre that is distinct from all of the other pre-existing reality TV. Concurrent with previous research, findings indicate that respondents genres; however, not all reality shows should be considered one cohesive genre reported watching reality TV mainly to pass the time or for entertainment (Nabi et al., 2003). Two dimensions were found in the analysis, with the first one purposes. The respondents who reported watching for entertainment were most presented as a continuum as to how suited the programs are for primetime likely to perceive the shows as realistic. Barton (2006) examined reality TV programming. The second dimension is fiction real. This is a continuum based on programming and gratifications obtained. Results indicated that the content of the whether the programs were portrayed as fictional or realistic based shows. Some reality show influenced the gratifications obtained. A new gratification that has "reality" shows were listed as fictional because for some reason, the audience did not been studied was identified in this study, personal utility. This was one of the not perceive the show as realistic (Nabi et al., 2003). strongest predictors of overall gratifications obtained. Personal utility refers to the viewer gaining something personally useful from the program. This research Interestingly, not all reality shows were classified as "reality," and not all provides support for viewers genre specific programming selection is related to fictional shows were classified as “fictional.” Some individuals included shows the gratifications obtained. Therefore it is important to understand that the that were not necessarily reality based in their definition of reality programming viewers are watching for different reasons. These reasons may lead to differing because they perceived the shows as unrealistic (e.g., soap operas). Therefore, perception by viewers and thus differing effects. when studying reality television it is important to examine the subcategories
Literature Review Examples and Writing Tips
Abstract | Introduction | Literature Review | Research question | Materials & Methods | Results | Discussion | Conclusion
In this blog, you will learn how to write the literature review section of a research paper. We will go through many literature review examples and understand different ways to present past literature in your paper.
1. What is the purpose of a literature review?
A literature review is a summary of previous research on your chosen topic. The purpose of the literature review is to let your audience know what others have done in your line of research. The literature review is not about providing a shopping list of past papers. You should structure your literature review so that it flows logically, and provides just the right amount of information to your readers.
2. What should be the length of the literature review?
The length of the literature review section varies from discipline to discipline. Typically, in a standard research paper, the literature review occupies 1 or 2 paragraphs. However, if you are dealing with a topic that requires a strong theoretical foundation, then a significantly longer literature review might be required.
3. How should you structure your literature review?
Generally, in your literature review, you can talk about the following things.
Broad overview or summary It is a good idea to start your literature review with a broad summary of previous research on the topic.
Seminal or pioneering works Here, you can talk about historical papers and famous people who kick-started research in your field.
Specific works Here, you can cite prominent papers that are relevant to your specific study.
Most recent works Then, you can talk about the most recent papers published in your field in the last 2-3 years, that reflect the newest discoveries and theories.
Controversial studies Then, you can talk about controversial literature related to your topic. Here, you can talk about studies that led to conflicts and debates among researchers in your field.
Research gap Then, you have to establish the research gap. You must highlight the drawbacks of previous works, and clearly explain what is missing from the literature.
4. Literature Review Examples
Let’s look at some examples of literature reviews. We will be looking at examples from different subjects and of different formats.
4.1 Example #1 (Social sciences research paper)
Typically in a literature review, you start with broad issues, and then you narrow it down to specific issues. Then, you keep narrowing it down until you reach the articles that are most relevant to your research question.
This literature review example is from a social sciences research paper. The authors have started broadly by saying that the research on mental health is quite varied, and it ranges from medication to therapy. Then, they narrow down the topic to the impact of social factors on depression, and cite a few papers. Then, they further narrow it down to the role of corporate in providing mental health support for their employees. Now, this directly relates to their research problem.
Extensive academic research addresses the topic of mental health in a wide range of contexts, from medication [1-3] to therapy [4-6]. In recent years, research has only begun to examine the impact of social factors on depression [7-8]. Even more recently, marketing research has begun to examine the role of corporate responsibility in promoting mental health support for employees [9-10]. In fact, in the only two such studies that have been conducted to date on this issue, inconsistent findings have been reported. Obviously, more studies are needed. _ Broad summary _ Narrowing down _ Further narrowing down _ Research gap
Then, they explain the research gap. They are saying that there aren’t many previous studies on the topic. In fact, there are only two studies that have been conducted on this topic so far, and the results of those studies are inconsistent.
As you can see the review flows very well. It goes from broad to specific, and nicely finishes off with the research gap.
4.2 Example #2 (Physics research paper)
One of the important qualities of a good literature review is sequentially explaining the events that led up to the current situation.
Here is a literature review example from a physics research paper about atomic theory. In this example, the authors have summarized almost 1000 years of research work in three to four lines. The authors have chronologically provided major theories presented by prominent authors over time.
In the first approach proposed by Democritus (400BC), a Greek philosopher, suggested that matter is made up of small particles called atoms . The method was further extended by Dalton (1808), who proposed the atomic theory, known as Dalton’s Atomic Theory . Niels Bohr (1913) proposed an alternative suggestion; that the electrons of an atom revolve around a centrally placed nucleus . In more recent work, physicists have successfully created a “giant atom”, these atoms are created at very cold temperatures and are held together by a weak bond . _ First major work _ Second major work _ Third major work _ Most recent work
They start with the first approach presented by Democritus in 400 BC. Then they talk about Dalton’s and Bohr’s theories published in the 18 th and 19 th centuries respectively. Finally, they talk about the most recent work in the field.
Pay attention to the use of phrases such as ‘In the first approach’, ‘was further extended by’, ‘proposed an alternative suggestion’, ‘in recent work’. These phrases are used to connect the events together and make the text flow better. This passage is a very good example that demonstrates how to logically structure your literature review.
4.3 Example #3 (Business research paper)
When you are dealing with large amounts of literature, it is a good idea to group them by ideas before presenting them in your literature review.
Here is a literature review example from a business paper that deals with the consumer behavior of the older population. The author starts with a broad statement stating that there is a lot of literature on the topic of consumer behavior. Then, the author has grouped articles by ideas, and then presented them in the text. As you can see that almost 20 references are cited in the first two lines.
There exists a vast amount of literature on the topic of consumer behaviour [1-5]. Existing literature on the consumer decision-making process generally explores: Personal factors [6-8], Age factors [9-11], Psychological factors [12-15] and Situational factors [16-20]. There are very limited published previous research findings related to shopping behaviours of older population. This study, to the best of our knowledge, represents the first attempt to fill the void in the literature. _ Broad summary _ Grouping works by ideas _ Research gap _ Novelty of the work
Then, the author establishes the research gap and explains what is unique about their study. They are saying that there are plenty of studies about general consumer behaviour, however, there are very limited studies that specifically deal with the consumer behaviour of the older population. And their study represents the first attempt to investigate this issue.
You can follow this format of literature review when you are short of space but have to include a lot of references.
4.4 Example #4 (Medical research paper)
Here is an example of a literature review from a medical paper. Here, the authors talk about a controversial and debated topic in literature. The authors say that the evidence linking cycling and male fertility is somewhat mixed. Some studies say that cycling improves fertility since it is good exercise. Whereas other studies say that it is bad because it actually damages the prostate.
Most studies examining the mechanisms linking cycling to male infertility have had conflicting results and is a heavily debated topic [1-2]. Until last decade, there was a general consensus among researchers that cycling improves male fertility [3-9]. The results of the recent large scale multicenter study by Elan et al , in contrast to previous studies, showed cycling weakening the prostate tissue causing infertility among males. Due to lack of clear evidence, the link between cycling and male infertility remains unclear. _ Debated topic _ Mixed/controversial studies _ Research gap
The authors say that there is a lack of consensus among researchers about this. And we are still not sure which claim is correct, so there is a research gap here. As you can see, the authors have made their case for further research very elegantly by providing evidence that supports both sides of the argument.
4.5 Example #5 (Health sciences research paper)
Here is another format of literature review that you can follow in your paper. You can talk about a few studies with similar themes or theories at a time. Then you stop and provide your opinion on the studies. You can either summarise the findings or point out the drawbacks of the studies. Then you move on to the next set of studies and do exactly the same.
The simplest approach to deal with weight gain is cutting down food intake [1-3]. This type of diet is hard to maintain, and individuals might be missing out on essential nutrients. An alternative solution is using an intragastric balloon [4-6]. However, this method is expensive and has some life-threatening symptoms and complications. Another solution is to follow a rigorous exercise routine [7-10]. This can increase the risk of injuries. Because of these limitations, there has been significant interest in finding the right treatment for obesity. _ Method 1 _ Critique 1 _ Method 2 _ Critique 2 _ Method 3 _ Critique 3 _ Research gap
Here is a literature review example from health sciences paper, this review is about methods to reduce weight. We start by talking about the papers that deal with fasting techniques. Then, we explain the drawbacks of fasting. Then, we move on to papers that deal with surgery as an option. Then we explain the drawbacks of surgery. Then, we move on to papers that propose exercise as a means to tackle weight gain. Then, we explain the drawbacks of exercise. And then finally, we are stating the research gap.
The literature review flows very well, and the author tells a nice story by logically presenting various techniques and critiquing them at the same time.
5. Frequently Asked Questions
The literature review typically appears after the introduction paragraph of your research paper.
You may have to use multiple tenses in your literature review depending on what you are saying. The present tense is generally used in statements to introduce the literature review. And, the past tense is typically used when you are talking about specific papers.
You should start your literature review with a general summary of previous research on the topic. And then, you should move to specific studies that directly relates to your research work.
One of the best ways to shorten your literature review is by citing review papers. A review paper is a collection of all relevant literature on a topic. It is common practice to point your readers to review papers for further information in your literature review.
(1) All the papers you cited in the literature review should appear in the bibliography; (2) You must present previous literature that both support and contradict your hypothesis or idea in an unbiased manner; (3) The literature review should flow logically; and (4) You must use constructive and diplomatic language when critizing other’s work in your literature review.
Try to use constructive and diplomatic language in your literature review. Pay specific attention to your language when you are criticizing other researchers in your field.
Look at the following examples. Here, we are pointing out the drawback of previous studies. Look at the first statement, it is quite blunt and we are very critical of previous works. Now look at the second statement, we are giving some credit to the previous authors and appreciating their efforts. And then we are making our claim that there is no solution to the problem.
None of the previous works [1-4] offer a good solution. Very blunt and too critical
Despite the success of previous works [1-4] in certain aspects, the problem is still unsolved. Constructive and diplomatic
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How to Write a Literature Review
As every student knows, writing informative essay and research papers is an integral part of the educational program. You create a thesis, support it using valid sources, and formulate systematic ideas surrounding it. However, not all students know that they will also have to face another type of paper known as a Literature Review in college. Let's take a closer look at this with our custom essay writer .
Literature Review Definition
As this is a less common academic writing type, students often ask: "What is a literature review?" According to the definition, a literature review is a body of work that explores various publications within a specific subject area and sometimes within a set timeframe.
This type of writing requires you to read and analyze various sources that relate to the main subject and present each unique comprehension of the publications. Lastly, a literature review should combine a summary with a synthesis of the documents used. A summary is a brief overview of the important information in the publication; a synthesis is a re-organization of the information that gives the writing a new and unique meaning.
Typically, a literature review is a part of a larger paper, such as a thesis or dissertation. However, you may also be given it as a stand-alone assignment.
The main purpose of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize the ideas created by previous authors without implementing personal opinions or other additional information.
However, a literature review objective is not just to list summaries of sources; rather, it is to notice a central trend or principle in all of the publications. Just like a research paper has a thesis that guides it on rails, a literature review has the main organizing principle (MOP). The goal of this type of academic writing is to identify the MOP and show how it exists in all of your supporting documents.
Why is a literature review important? The value of such work is explained by the following goals it pursues:
- Highlights the significance of the main topic within a specific subject area.
- Demonstrates and explains the background of research for a particular subject matter.
- Helps to find out the key themes, principles, concepts, and researchers that exist within a topic.
- Helps to reveal relationships between existing ideas/studies on a topic.
- Reveals the main points of controversy and gaps within a topic.
- Suggests questions to drive primary research based on previous studies.
Here are some example topics for writing literature reviews:
- Exploring racism in "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
- Isolationism in "The Catcher in the Rye," "Frankenstein," and "1984"
- Understanding Moral Dilemmas in "Crime and Punishment," "The Scarlet Letter," and "The Lifeboat"
- Corruption of Power in "Macbeth," "All the King's Men," and "Animal Farm"
- Emotional and Physical survival in "Lord of the Flies," "Hatchet," and "Congo."
How Long Is a Literature Review?
When facing the need to write a literature review, students tend to wonder, "how long should a literature review be?" In some cases, the length of your paper's body may be determined by your instructor. Be sure to read the guidelines carefully to learn what is expected from you.
Keeping your literature review around 15-30% of your entire paper is recommended if you haven't been provided with specific guidelines. To give you a rough idea, that is about 2-3 pages for a 15-page paper. In case you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone assignment, its length should be specified in the instructions provided.
Literature Review Format: APA, MLA, and Chicago
The essay format you use should adhere to the citation style preferred by your instructor. Seek clarification from your instructor for several other components as well to establish a desired literature review format:
- How many sources should you review, and what kind of sources should they be (published materials, journal articles, or websites)?
- What format should you use to cite the sources?
- How long should the review be?
- Should your review consist of a summary, synthesis, or a personal critique?
- Should your review include subheadings or background information for your sources?
If you want to format your paper in APA style, then follow these rules:
- Use 1-inch page margins.
- Unless provided with other instructions, use double-spacing throughout the whole text.
- Make sure you choose a readable font. The preferred font for APA papers is Times New Roman set to 12-point size.
- Include a header at the top of every page (in capital letters). The page header must be a shortened version of your essay title and limited to 50 characters, including spacing and punctuation.
- Put page numbers in the upper right corner of every page.
- When shaping your literature review outline in APA, don't forget to include a title page. This page should include the paper's name, the author's name, and the institutional affiliation. Your title must be typed with upper and lowercase letters and centered in the upper part of the page; use no more than 12 words, and avoid using abbreviations and useless words.
For MLA style text, apply the following guidelines:
- Double your spacing across the entire paper.
- Set ½-inch indents for each new paragraph.
- The preferred font for MLA papers is Times New Roman set to 12-point size.
- Include a header at the top of your paper's first page or on the title page (note that MLA style does not require you to have a title page, but you are allowed to decide to include one). A header in this format should include your full name; the name of your instructor; the name of the class, course, or section number; and the due date of the assignment.
- Include a running head in the top right corner of each page in your paper. Place it one inch from the page's right margin and half an inch from the top margin. Only include your last name and the page number separated by a space in the running head. Do not put the abbreviation p. before page numbers.
Finally, if you are required to write a literature review in Chicago style, here are the key rules to follow:
- Set page margins to no less than 1 inch.
- Use double spacing across the entire text, except when it comes to table titles, figure captions, notes, blockquotes, and entries within the bibliography or References.
- Do not put spaces between paragraphs.
- Make sure you choose a clear and easily-readable font. The preferred fonts for Chicago papers are Times New Roman and Courier, set to no less than 10-point size, but preferably to 12-point size.
- A cover (title) page should include your full name, class information, and the date. Center the cover page and place it one-third below the top of the page.
- Place page numbers in the upper right corner of each page, including the cover page.
Read also about harvard format - popular style used in papers.
Structure of a Literature Review
How to structure a literature review: Like many other types of academic writing, a literature review follows a typical intro-body-conclusion style with 5 paragraphs overall. Now, let’s look at each component of the basic literature review structure in detail:
You should direct your reader(s) towards the MOP (main organizing principle). This means that your information must start from a broad perspective and gradually narrow down until it reaches your focal point.
Start by presenting your general concept (Corruption, for example). After the initial presentation, narrow your introduction's focus towards the MOP by mentioning the criteria you used to select the literature sources you have chosen (Macbeth, All the King's Men, and Animal Farm). Finally, the introduction will end with the presentation of your MOP that should directly link it to all three literature sources.
Generally, each body paragraph will focus on a specific source of literature laid out in the essay's introduction. As each source has its own frame of reference for the MOP, it is crucial to structure the review in the most logically consistent way possible. This means the writing should be structured chronologically, thematically or methodologically.
Breaking down your sources based on their publication date is a solid way to keep a correct historical timeline. If applied properly, it can present the development of a certain concept over time and provide examples in the form of literature. However, sometimes there are better alternatives we can use to structure the body.
Instead of taking the "timeline approach," another option can be looking at the link between your MOP and your sources. Sometimes, the main idea will just glare from a piece of literature. Other times, the author may have to seek examples to prove their point. An experienced writer will usually present their sources by order of strength. For example, in "To Kill A Mockingbird," the entire novel was centralized around racism; in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," racism was one of many themes.
As made obvious by the terminology, this type of structuring focuses on the methods used to present the central concept. For example, in "1984", George Orwell uses the law-and-order approach and shows the dangers of a dystopia for a social species.
In "Frankenstein," Mary Shelley exposes the character's physical traits as repulsive and horrifying, forcing him to suffer in an isolated environment. By showcasing the various methods used to portray the MOP, the writer can compare them based on things like severity, ethicality, and overall impact.
After presenting your key findings in the body paragraphs, there are 3 final objectives to complete in the essay's conclusion. First, the author should summarize the findings they have made or found, in other words, and briefly answer the question: "What have you learned?"
After discussing that information, the next step is to present the significance of the information about our current world today. In other words, how can the reader take the information and apply it to today's society? From that point, we finish off with a breadcrumb trail.
As the author, you want to leave the readers' trail of thought within the actual essay topic. This provides them with a means of further investigation—meaning that the reader may consider where the discussion will go next.
Writing an Outline for a Literature Review
Students often underestimate the importance of planning the structure of their papers in advance. However, this is not a wise approach. Having a rough APA literature review outline (or other style outlines) will not only help you follow the right format and structure but will also make the writing process simpler and help ensure that you include all of the important information without missing anything.
How to write a literature review outline: As you already know from the Structure section of this guide, every part of your literature review performs its own important role. Therefore, you should create your outline while keeping the general introduction-body-conclusion structure in mind and ensuring that each section meets its own objectives. However, it is important to remember that a literature review outline is slightly different from outlines of other types of essays because it does not provide new information. Instead, it focuses on existing studies relevant to the main topic.
Here is a literature review outline example on the subject of the Ebola virus to help you get it right:
- Introduce the general topic. Provide background information on the Ebola virus: genome, pathogenesis, transmission, epidemiology, treatment, etc.
- Shape the main research question: What is the potential role of arthropods (mechanical or biological vectors) in the distribution of the Ebola virus?
- Methodology: For example, the information was searched through X databases to find relevant research articles about the Ebola virus and arthropods' role in its spreading. The data was extracted using a standardized form.
- Expected outcomes
- Overall trends in the literature on this topic: While the natural reservoir of the virus is still not known with certainty, many researchers believe that arthropods (and fruit bats, in particular) pay a significant role in the distribution of the virus.
- Subject 1: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
- Subject 2: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
- Subject 3: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
- Indicate the relationships between the pieces of literature discussed. Emphasize key themes, common patterns, and trends. Talk about the pros and cons of the different approaches taken by the authors/researchers.
- State which studies seem to be the most influential.
- Emphasize the major contradictions and points of disagreement. Define the gaps still to be covered (if any).
- If applicable: define how your own study will contribute to further disclosure of the topic.
Hopefully, this sample outline will help you to structure your own paper. However, if you feel like you need some more advice on how to organize your review, don’t hesitate to search for more literature review outline examples in APA or other styles on the Web, or simply ask our writers to get a dissertation help .
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How to Write a Good Literature Review
Whether you are writing a literature review within the framework of a large research project (e.g. thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment, the approach you should take to writing generally remains the same.
Whether you are writing a literature review within the framework of a large research project (e.g., thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment, the approach you should take to writing generally remains the same.
Now, as you know about the general rules and have a basic literature review outline template, let's define the steps to take to handle this task right with our service:
Step 1: Identifying the Topic
This is probably the only matter you may approach differently depending on whether your literature review comes within a research paper or a separate assignment altogether. If you are creating a literature review as a part of another work, you need to search for literature related to your main research questions and problems. Respectively, if you are writing it as a stand-alone task, you will have to pick a relevant topic and central question upon which you will collect the literature. Earlier in this guide, we suggested some engaging topics to guide your search.
Step 2: Conducting Research
When you have a clearly defined topic, it is time to start collecting literature for your review. We recommend starting by compiling a list of relevant keywords related to your central question—to make the entire research process much simpler and help you find relevant publications faster.
When you have a list of keywords, use them to search for valid and relevant sources. At this point, be sure to use only trusted sources, such as ones from university libraries, online scientific databases, etc.
Once you have found some sources, be sure to define whether or not they are actually relevant to your topic and research question. To save time, you can read abstracts to get general ideas of what the papers are about instead of the whole thing.
Pro Tip: When you finally find a few valid publications, take a look at their bibliographies to discover other relevant sources as well.
Step 3: Assess and Prioritize Sources
Throughout your research, you will likely find plenty of relevant literature to include in your literature review. At this point, students often make the mistake of trying to fit all the collected sources into their reviews. Instead, we suggest looking at what you've collected once more, evaluating the available sources, and selecting the most relevant ones. You most likely won't be able to read everything you find on a given topic and then be able to synthesize all of the sources into a single literature review. That's why prioritizing them is important.
To evaluate which sources are worth including in your review, keep in mind the following criteria:
- Key insights;
Furthermore, as you read the sources, don’t forget to take notes on everything you can incorporate into the review later. And be sure to get your citations in place early on. If you cite the selected sources at the initial stage, you will find it easier to create your annotated bibliography later on.
Step 4: Identify Relationships, Key Ideas, and Gaps
Before you can move on to outlining and writing your literature review, the final step is determining the relationships between the studies that already exist. Identifying the relationships will help you organize the existing knowledge, build a solid literature outline, and (if necessary) indicate your own research contribution to a specific field.
Some of the key points to keep an eye out for are:
- Main themes;
- Contradictions and debates;
- Influential studies or theories;
- Trends and patterns;
Here are a few examples: Common trends may include a focus on specific groups of people across different studies. Most researchers may have increased interest in certain aspects of the topic regarding key themes. Contradictions may include some disagreement concerning the theories and outcomes of a study. And finally, gaps most often refer to a lack of research on certain aspects of a topic.
Step 5: Make an Outline
Although students tend to neglect this stage, outlining is one of the most important steps in writing every academic paper. This is the easiest way to organize the body of your text and ensure that you haven't missed anything important. Besides, having a rough idea of what you will write about in the paper will help you get it right faster and more easily. Earlier in this guide, we already discussed the basic structure of a literature review and gave you an example of a good outline. At this workflow stage, you can use all of the knowledge you've gained from us to build your own outline.
Step 6: Move on to Writing
Having found and created all of your sources, notes, citations, and a detailed outline, you can finally get to the writing part of the process. At this stage, all you need to do is follow the plan you've created and keep in mind the overall structure and format defined in your professor's instructions.
Step 7: Adding the Final Touches
Most students make a common mistake and skip the final stage of the process, which includes proofreading and editing. We recommend taking enough time for these steps to ensure that your work will be worth the highest score. Do not underestimate the importance of proofreading and editing, and allocate enough time for these steps.
Pro Tip: Before moving on to proofreading and editing, be sure to set your literature review aside for a day or two. This will give you a chance to take your mind off it and then get back to proofreading with a fresh perspective. This tip will ensure that you won't miss out on any gaps or errors that might be present in your text.
These steps will help you create a top-notch literature review with ease! Want to get more advice on how to handle this body of work? Here are the top 3 tips you need to keep in mind when writing a literature review:
1. Good Sources
When working on a literature review, the most important thing any writer should remember is to find the best possible sources for their MOP. This means that you should select and filter through about 5-10 different options while doing initial research.
The stronger a piece of literature showcases the central point, the better the quality of the entire review.
2. Synthesize The Literature
Make sure to structure the review in the most effective way possible, whether it be chronologically, thematically, or methodologically. Understand what exactly you would like to say, and structure the source comparison accordingly.
3. Avoid Generalizations
Remember that each piece of literature will approach the MOP from a different angle. As the author, make sure to present the contrasts in approaches clearly and don't include general statements that offer no value.
Literature Review Examples
You can find two well-written literature reviews by the EssayPro writing team below. They will help you understand what the final product of a literature review should ideally look like.
The first literature review compares monolingual and bilingual language acquisition skills and uses various sources to prove its point:
The second literature review compares the impact of fear and pain on a protagonist’s overall development in various settings:
Both reviews will help you sharpen your skills and provide good guidelines for writing high-quality papers.
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Q: How do I do a review of related literature (RRL)?
How do I do the synthesis? Also, where can I get samples of RRLs?
Asked on 04 Jan, 2020
A review of related literature (RRL) is a detailed review of existing literature related to the topic of a thesis or dissertation. In an RRL, you talk about knowledge and findings from existing literature relevant to your topic. If you find gaps or conflicts in existing literature, you can also discuss these in your review, and if applicable, how you plan to address these gaps or resolve these conflicts through your study.
To undertake an RRL, therefore, you first need to identify relevant literature. You can do this through various sources, online and offline. Ensure you are saving all applicable resources because you will need to mention them in your paper. When going through the resources, make notes and identify key concepts of each resource to describe in the review.
Before starting the review, determine how you want to organize the review, that is, whether you wish to discuss the resources by themes, dates, extent of relevance, and so on.
When writing the review, begin by providing the background and purpose of the review. Then, begin discussing each of the identified resources according to the way you decided to organize them. For each, you can mention the title, author, publication, and date before describing the key concept and points. You may decide to list sections and sub-sections as in this sample or keep it more free-flowing as in this sample . [Note: In case any of these links don’t open, you may need to register yourself on the respective site(s).]
Finally, in the synthesis, you explain how the various concepts of each resource link with each other. You may decide to do this through a table or matrix, as illustrated here .
Related reading :
- How to write the literature review of your research paper
- Tips for effective literature searching and keeping up with new publications
- Make your Google searches more precise: A few tips for researchers
Answered by Editage Insights on 21 Jan, 2020
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- Statement of the problem
- Background of study
- Scope of the study
- Types of qualitative research
- Rationale of the study
- Concept paper
- Literature review
- Introduction in research
- Under "Editor Evaluation"
- Ethics in research
- Review paper
- Responding to reviewer comments
- Predatory publishers
- Scope and delimitations
- Open access
- Plagiarism in research
- Journal selection tips
- Editor assigned
- Types of articles
- "Reject and Resubmit" status
- Decision in process
- Conflict of interest