Writing Your Literature Review Once you've settled on how to organize your literature review, you're ready to write each section. When writing your review, keep in mind these issues.
Use Evidence A literature review section is, in this sense, just like any other academic research paper. Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence [citations] that demonstrates that what you are saying is valid.
Be Selective Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the research problem, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological. Related items that provide additional information but that are not key to understanding the research problem can be included in a list of further readings. Use Quotes Sparingly Some short quotes are okay if you want to emphasize a point, or if what an author stated cannot be easily paraphrased.
Sometimes you may need to quote certain terminology that was coined by the author, not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. Do not use extensive quotes as a substitute for your own summary and interpretation of the literature. Summarize and Synthesize Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each thematic paragraph as well as throughout the review.
Recapitulate important features of a research study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study's significance and relating it to your own work. Keep Your Own Voice While the literature review presents others' ideas, your voice [the writer's] should remain front and center.
For example, weave references to other sources into what you are writing but maintain your own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with your own ideas and wording. Use Caution When Paraphrasing When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author's information or opinions accurately and in your own words.
Common Mistakes to Avoid These are the most common mistakes made in reviewing social science research literature. Sources in your literature review do not clearly relate to the research problem; You do not take sufficient time to define and identify the most relevent sources to use in the literature review related to the research problem; Relies exclusively on secondary analytical sources rather than including relevant primary research studies or data; Uncritically accepts another researcher's findings and interpretations as valid, rather than examining critically all aspects of the research design and analysis; Does not describe the search procedures that were used in identifying the literature to review; Reports isolated statistical results rather than synthesizing them in chi-squared or meta-analytic methods; and, Only includes research that validates assumptions and does not consider contrary findings and alternative interpretations found in the literature.
Cook, Kathleen E. Online Writing Center. Liberty University; Literature Reviews. The Writing Center. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Writing a Literature Review. Academic Skills Centre. University of Canberra. Thinking interdisciplinarily about a research problem can be a rewarding exercise in applying new ideas, theories, or concepts to an old problem.
For example, what might cultural anthropologists say about the continuing conflict in the Middle East? In what ways might geographers view the need for better distribution of social service agencies in large cities than how social workers might study the issue? However, particularly in the social sciences, thinking about research problems from multiple vectors is a key strategy for finding new solutions to a problem or gaining a new perspective. Consult with a librarian about identifying research databases in other disciplines; almost every field of study has at least one comprehensive database devoted to indexing its research literature.
Frodeman, Robert. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. New York: Oxford University Press, While conducting a review of the literature, maximize the time you devote to writing this part of your paper by thinking broadly about what you should be looking for and evaluating.
Review not just what scholars are saying, but how are they saying it. Some questions to ask: How are they organizing their ideas? What methods have they used to study the problem? What theories have been used to explain, predict, or understand their research problem? What sources have they cited to support their conclusions? How have they used non-textual elements [e. When you begin to write your literature review section, you'll be glad you dug deeper into how the research was designed and constructed because it establishes a means for developing more substantial analysis and interpretation of the research problem.
Hart, Chris. Here are several strategies you can utilize to assess whether you've thoroughly reviewed the literature: Look for repeating patterns in the research findings. If the same thing is being said, just by different people, then this likely demonstrates that the research problem has hit a conceptual dead end. At this point consider: Does your study extend current research? Does it forge a new path? Or, does is merely add more of the same thing being said? Look at sources the authors cite to in their work.
If you begin to see the same researchers cited again and again, then this is often an indication that no new ideas have been generated to address the research problem. Search the Web of Science [a.
This is called citation tracking and there are a number of sources that can help you identify who has cited whom, particularly scholars from outside of your discipline. Here again, if the same authors are being cited again and again, this may indicate no new literature has been written on the topic. Part of this may be due to the writing experience that students bring with them to the project. What types of papers have you written before? Book reviews?
Have you ever tried to synthesize the literature both theoretical and empirical regarding some subject before? Basic tools for writing are the same such as style but the goal of a literature review in a research paper is somewhat different from other types of writing. The goal is to bring together what is "known" to sociologists about your research topic in a way that sets up the "need" for your specific research. You will be looking for unanswered questions, or gaps in the knowledge. You might want to test established ideas on new populations or test a theory using variables measured in different ways.
But you need to always keep in mind the following question: "how will my research take our understanding a step further? One is to collect information on your topic. The other is writing the literature review. You've probably been to the library and looked up sociology journals by now. You've most likely had several courses in general sociology and in specialized courses.
Maybe you've even had a course in theory. So you have access to a wealth of information. But how do you go through it and make sense of it "one the whole? Below are a set of questions that may help you synthesize the information in a way that will help you write the literature review. These questions are only a guide-some suggestions of issues to keep in mind as you read the texts you've accumulated.
You will not need to address ALL of these questions in your literature review. What is your dependent variable or topic of interest? How has it been conceptualized and how has it been studied?
Some research is done to test theoretically informed hypotheses, while other research is designed to explore relationships. Either way, most research has some basic questions about why something varies: why do some adolescents use drugs while others do not? Why do some couples get divorced and others do not? What determines the number of children women have? Why do some people earn higher salaries than others? What leads to success in college? The dependent variable in the examples above are in order : adolescent drug use; divorce; fertility; earnings; academic success.
The first thing you should consider is what is the status of the dependent variable? How many adolescents are reported to have used drugs? Have these rates increased lately? What is the current divorce rate? Has it changed? Are rates variable across regions of the country? If variations exist, this might provide a case for your research. What are the theories used to explain the dependent variable?
Accuracy of information If you do not know something or it is not clear enough for you, clarify your doubts as soon as possible. You may ask your professor to give answers to your questions.
He always knows how to do a literature review and may give a useful piece of advice. Questions may concern any peculiarities of the work — from types of publications, such as articles from journals, books or websites, to a number of subheadings and other formal, at first glance, information.
Besides, you can find a model for your work. There are a lot of similar literature analysis which may become an example for you.
Take one of them as a basis but do it formally in order to avoid plagiarism. It will do your work easier if you narrow down the scope of possible themes in your review. It will automatically reduce the number of sources you have to study and will make the work more concrete.
If you really want to make a contribution to science you should check the sources for their relevance. Some information may be out of date and you should replace it with fresh data. Writing the text, pay attention to evidence you use. It confirms your desire to substantiate the ideas that you are expressing and helps to make the whole work argumentative. Do not forget that this is you, who does the review. Though you put together facts and opinions of other authors, make your voice sound among all this.
Select the most important points and do not try to write about everything and immediately. Quote sparingly and summarize each thematic paragraph to make the work consist of logical parts. Revising the work Follow the required formatting. Use terms properly. Replace jargon and slang. Your tone must be neutral but credible and convincing.
Avoid inaccuracies: the mentioned sources must clearly relate to the review question. Pay attention to primary studies first. Examine critically findings of other researchers — it shows that you study the problem and look for its solution.
If you deal with alternative interpretations, include them in your work, too. Do not be afraid to mention in the review works with negative results — they also have value for scientific progress.Literature Reviews What this is america falling apart essay writing is about This handout will explain what literature reviews are and offer insights into the form and construction of literature reviews in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Introduction OK. And a review does not necessarily mean topics your esl wants you to essay your personal opinion argumentative whether or not you liked these sources. What is a literature review, then?
For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals. Let's say you want to see how the division of household labor affects the level of satisfaction that a person has with their partner.
Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations. Are the author's arguments supported by evidence [e.
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. 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. Be sure to group articles together by writing points. A raging debate? For example, what might cultural anthropologists say about the continuing conflict in the Middle East?
Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? Be sure to use terminology familiar to your audience; get rid of unnecessary jargon or slang. Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject? Were the results effectively interpreted and reported? Thematic: Thematic reviews of literature are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time.