Before starting to write a review, it is important to determine what kind of review you want to write and follow the appropriate style and guidelines. An effective literature review is important for the complete life cycle of a research from defining the right research goals to correctly interpreting and presenting the research results. What are some of the ways of organizing the sources when writing a literature review for a research paper?
Writing a literature review requires you to read through and collate several research articles and literature sources.
This can get very confusing considering the large amount of publications that need to be organized. There is no set way to do this as it will depend on your preference for reading printed articles or online resources. If you are old school and read printed articles better, then you should create a folder with all articles organized in this way: 1. Alphabetically with the last name of the first author, or 2.
Chronologically with the date of publication, or 3. Thematically with different themes organized chronologically For the more tech-savy users, organization of literature either by year of publication or themes would be more ideal. Citing and creating a reference list in your manuscript can be done either manually or by using reference management tools like Endnote from Clarivate analytics.
Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred. Thematic 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.
Methodological 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 Theoretical 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.
Step 4: Write your literature review 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.
Introduction The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review. Dissertation literature review If you are writing the literature review as part of your dissertation or thesis, reiterate your central problem or research question and give a brief summary of the scholarly context.
Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research. Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important]. Types of Literature Reviews It is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers. First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish. Second are the reviews of those studies that summarize and offer new interpretations built from and often extending beyond the primary studies.
Third, there are the perceptions, conclusions, opinion, and interpretations that are shared informally that become part of the lore of field. In composing a literature review, it is important to note that it is often this third layer of knowledge that is cited as "true" even though it often has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary literature reviews. Given this, while literature reviews are designed to provide an overview and synthesis of pertinent sources you have explored, there are a number of approaches you could adopt depending upon the type of analysis underpinning your study.
Types of Literature Reviews Argumentative Review This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint.
Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e. However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews [see below]. Integrative Review Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated.
The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses or research problems. A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication.
This is the most common form of review in the social sciences. Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent. Historical literature reviews focus on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline.
The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research. Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis].
Reviewing methods of analysis provides a framework of understanding at different levels [i. This approach helps highlight ethical issues which you should be aware of and consider as you go through your own study. Systematic Review This form consists of an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research question, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review.
The goal is to deliberately document, critically evaluate, and summarize scientifically all of the research about a clearly defined research problem. Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?
Theoretical Review The purpose of this form is to examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena. The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems.
The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework. Baumeister, Roy F. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review. The advantage of using Excel is that it enables you to sort your findings according to a variety of factors e.
Research methods Summary of research results Step 6: Synthesize the literature prior to writing your review Using the notes that you have taken and summary tables, develop an outline of your final review.
The following are the key steps as outlined by Galvan Consider your purpose and voice before beginning to write. In the case of this Educ introductory literature review, your initial purpose is to provide an overview of the topic that is of interest to you, demonstrating your understanding of key works and concepts within your chosen area of focus.
You are also developing skills in reviewing and writing, to provide a foundation on which you will build in subsequent courses within your M. Consider how you reassemble your notes: plan how you will organize your findings into a unique analysis of the picture that you have captured in your notes.
Important: A literature review is not series of annotations like an annotated bibliography. Galvan captures the difference between an annotated bibliography and a literature review very well: " In the case of a literature review, you are really creating a new forest, which you will build by using the trees you found in the literature you read.
You may find the program Inspiration useful in mapping out your argument and once you have created this in a concept map form, Inspiration enables you to convert this to a text outline merely by clicking on the "outline" button. This can then be exported into a Microsoft Word document.
Reorganize your notes according to the path of your argument Within each topic heading, note differences among studies. Within each topic heading, look for obvious gaps or areas needing more research. Thus, the review loses its chronological focus. By publication: Order your sources by publication chronology, then, only if the order demonstrates a more important trend. By trend: A better way to organize the above sources chronologically is to examine the sources under another trend, such as the history of whaling.
Then your review would have subsections according to eras within this period. For instance, the review might examine whaling from pre, , and Under this method, you would combine the recent studies on American whaling in the 19th century with Moby Dick itself in the category, even though the authors wrote a century apart.
Thematic: Thematic reviews of literature are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time. However, progression of time may still be an important factor in a thematic review. For instance, the sperm whale review could focus on the development of the harpoon for whale hunting. While the study focuses on one topic, harpoon technology, it will still be organized chronologically.
But more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order. The subsections might include how they are personified, how their proportions are exaggerated, and their behaviors misunderstood. A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods within each section according to the point made. Methodological: A methodological approach differs from the two above in that the focusing factor usually does not have to do with the content of the material.
For the sperm whale project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of whales in American, British, and French art work. Or the review might focus on the economic impact of whaling on a community. A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed. They should arise out of your organizational strategy. In other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period.
A thematic review would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue. Sometimes, though, you might need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you. Put in only what is necessary. Here are a few other sections you might want to consider: Current Situation: Information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.
History: The chronological progression of the field, the literature, or an idea that is necessary to understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research? If you are old school and read printed articles better, then you should create a folder with all articles organized in this way: 1. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers. The tips and guidelines in this post should help you write your literature review with ease.
Now consider some typical ways of organizing the sources into a review: Chronological: If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials above according to when they were published.