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A literature review is done with the help of scholarly sources that are relevant to a specific topic. The data is chosen from the current studies and the current data available. You cannot make up something as you have to choose from the existing knowledge. It is a requirement for a literature review to choose from valid sources otherwise there is no point in developing a literature review. If we use an unverified source, the literature won’t be considered valid at all. Furthermore, you will need to add relevant theories, methods, and research to form a direction in your literature.
Types of Literature Review
Writing a literature review is quite challenging because you have to conduct a lot of research to select valid sources. There are different types of literature so, it is better to make sure what kind of literature you are developing. For instance, there are thematic, theoretical, chronological, and methodological literature reviews. The type of literature can be evaluated by having a look at the topic of research. Good literature will analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate the existing knowledge used for the topic.
Steps of Writing Literature Review
There are five steps to writing a literature review and they should be followed in the proper sequence. These steps are mentioned below with a brief detail about them.
1- Searching for relevant literature:
: To conduct any kind of research, you need to have a clearly defined topic. Once you have a clear topic, you can understand it and research it. If you are conducting research for your research paper or dissertation, you have to find literature according to your research problem and questions. So, you can choose various theories, concepts, and methods that are related to your research. You could make a list of keywords and start a search as well. A few resources that can be used for research purposes include the following:
- 1- Google Scholar (General)
- 2- JSTORE
- 3- EBSCO
- 4- Project Muse if your project is related to humanities and social sciences
- 5- EconLit if your project is related to economics
- 6- Inspec if your project is related to physics, engineering, and computer sciences
- 7- Your college/university’s library catalog
Since most journals and research articles are so long, you don’t need to read the whole book. You can have an idea by going through its abstract.
2- Evaluation of the content and selection of sources:
There is no guarantee that all the journals you read will be used in your literature review. You have to evaluate which content is relevant. There will be plenty of stuff that you wouldn’t want to include in your literature review. Only important and relevant content will be used in the literature review. So, evaluate it carefully and use the ones that are from good sources.
3- Identify themes, arguments, and gaps by organizing the content:
The literature review of the research project should be organized well, and it can only be possible if you identify similar themes in different journals and mention similar arguments and maintain some gaps in different studies and relate them to your research question with a connection. Even if there are some clear contradictions of views, you need to organize them to make sense. This is the structuring of the content and if you do it well, it will be a contribution to the existing knowledge.
4- Outline your literature review
Although you can use any journal anywhere in the literature review, it is best to organize your literature review and bibliography in chronological order. However, it is mostly dependent on what kind of literature review you are developing.