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writing a literature review

writing a literature review

Writing a literature review

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position yourself in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate

A literature review shows your readers that you have an in-depth grasp of your subject; and that you understand where your own research fits into and adds to an existing body of agreed knowledge.
If you have to write an undergraduate dissertation, you may be required to begin by writing a literature review. A literature review is a search and evaluation of the available literature in your given subject or chosen topic area. It documents the state of the art with respect to the subject or topic you are writing about.

  • a description of the publication;
  • a summary of the publication’s main points;
  • a discussion of gaps in research;
  • an evaluation of the publication’s contribution to the topic.

The purpose of a literature review is to provide a review of writings on the given topic in order to establish the reviewer’s own position in the existing field of scholarship on that topic. A literature review provides a reader with a comprehensive look at previous discussions prior to the one the reviewer will be making in his/her own research paper, thesis, or dissertation. In short, a literature review shows readers where the reviewer is entering the academic conversation on a particular topic in the context of existing scholarship.

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 (2006: 71-79)
Once you have identified and located the articles for your review, you need to analyze them and organize them before you begin writing:

Writing a literature review
Literature reviews are often published as scholarly articles, books, and reports. Here is an example of a recent literature review published as a scholarly journal article:

  • What is the author’s expertise in this particular field of study (credentials)?
  • Are the author’s arguments supported by empirical evidence (e.g. quantitative/qualitative studies)?
  • Is the author’s perspective too biased in one direction or are opposing studies and viewpoints also considered?
  • Does the selected source contribute to a more profound understanding of the subject?

References:

http://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/literature-review/
http://www.rlf.org.uk/resources/what-is-a-literature-review/
http://writingcenter.ashford.edu/writing-literature-review
http://www.d.umn.edu/~hrallis/guides/researching/litreview.html
http://library.concordia.ca/help/writing/literature-review.php
http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/guide-to-writing-a-book-review.html