LITERATURE REVIEW PROCESS
The literature review should
• Take the form of a critical discussion, showing insight and an awareness of differing arguments, theories and approaches.
• Synthesise and analyse the relevant published work, linked at all times to your own purpose and rationale.
The literature review is NOT a simple set if summaries describing what others have published.
The aim of a literature review is to demonstrate that you have read, and have a good understanding of, the main published work concerning a particular topic or question in your field.
According to of La Trobe University, the literature review should:
• compare and contrast different authors' views on an issue
• group authors who draw similar conclusions
• criticise aspects of methodology
• note areas in which authors are in disagreement
• highlight exemplary studies
• highlight gaps in research
• show how your study relates to previous studies
• show how your study relates to the literature in general
• conclude by summarising what the literature says Caulley (1992)
The purposes of the review are:
• to define and limit the problem you are working on
• to place your study in an historical perspective
• to avoid unnecessary duplication
• to evaluate promising research methods
• to relate your findings to previous knowledge and suggest further research
A good literature review, therefore, is critical of what has been written, identifies areas of controversy, raises questions and identifies areas which need further research.
The overall structure of your review will depend largely on your own thesis or research area. What you will need to do is to group together and compare and contrast the varying opinions of different writers on certain topics. What you must not do is just describe what one writer says, and then go on to give a general overview of another writer, and then another, and so on. Your structure should be dictated instead by topic areas,...