Writing is the interconnection of parts that must align like a well-oiled machine. The literature review is an integral component of any research proposal. Sadly, many researchers misunderstand its purpose. Well-crafted reviews cover all the essential elements you want to discuss. They include the most relevant works, sources, research material, etc. It allows a researcher to understand the current state of knowledge on a topic clearly. Not only this, but it also aids the identification of gaps in the research that needs to be filled. If you’re struggling with writing an effective literature review, chances are that you don’t know what it is and what it should include. So, let us explain all you need to know about literature reviews.
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a critical analysis and a comprehensive summary of existing research on a topic. The writer identifies, evaluates, and synthesizes relevant scholarly works to do this. For example, it’s about dissertations, books, and journal articles. The aim is to summarize what is currently known and unknown about the topic.
The review is often done as a part of a research project such as a thesis or dissertation. However, it can also be a standalone project. It provides context and supports investigation while demonstrating that you have a sufficient understanding of published literature in the field.
The concept plays a huge role in determining the success of your paper. If you don’t have the skill or time, pay someone to help you draft your literature review. A professional custom writing service Paperell has a professional academic team that writes high-quality papers from scratch. They deliver on deadline, and you enjoy anonymity and zero plagiarism. Alternatively, request samples from top writers and use them as inspiration to draft the review.
The purpose can vary depending on the context. More often than not, it achieves the following:
- Identify gaps and inconsistencies in existing research.
- Identify potential research questions or areas of further investigation.
- Highlight key findings and arguments.
- Provide a historical and theoretical overview of the topic.
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing research.
What should be included in a literature review?
The review provides a comprehensive overview of existing published works on a topic. It highlights key findings and is a way to demonstrate critical thinking skills. But one of the mistakes students make is the failure to structure their discussion appropriately. Below are some key elements to include in the writing:
The introduction is the most crucial piece of any discussion. Your thesis introduction sets the stage and provides background information on the topic. Apart from this, the writer uses it to provide context on the investigation questions and the purpose of the review. Generally, the introduction should summarize the literature you want to review.
Purpose of the review
The next thing is to state the purpose of your discourse. We have highlighted some general purposes to consider when writing an effective literature review above. It could be identifying gaps in the literature, areas where further research is necessary, or conflicting results. Don’t assume the reader knows what you want to discuss, but state it clearly.
The scope gives an overview of the depth of your investigation. It could be narrow or broad. To define the scope, include databases and search engines you used to locate the findings. Also, write the time frame covered and the exclusion and inclusion criteria.
Like the scope, the methodology describes the means to conduct the analysis. For example, the search terms used and the number of studies reviewed. Describe the methods you adopted to show that the analysis was rigorous and systematic.
Compile your discussion and ensure it follows a clear and logical flow. Most researchers organize their findings chronologically or thematically. Regardless of your approach, ensure it is easy for the reader to understand the key findings.
Summary of sources
Give an overview of the sources reviewed. The essence of this step is to provide an overview and help the reader understand the main theme. You could describe the methods used, the main findings, or an overview of the questions.
Critically evaluate all sources and include the information in the discussion. Look at the reliability and quality of the studies and the methodology and biases they present. Assess objectively to allow the reader to determine the evidence’s strength and the discoveries’ validity.
Gaps in the body of knowledge
The last thing to include in the analysis is the areas where further probing is necessary or where conflicting results were reported. Identifying gaps in the literature will help you design the evaluation question and inform the inquiry design.
The importance of literature reviews in research
The analysis is vital in identifying gaps and providing context for your investigation. It is also one of the best methods to save time, as it allows you to focus on vital issues and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Let us explore its importance in research for more comprehension.
Provides context for the evaluation
One of the primary objectives is to highlight the current state of knowledge on a topic. It relates what has been done before with the current analysis so that the writer can establish the question’s relevance. It also demonstrates the originality of the analysis and helps the researcher understand concepts, theories, and terminologies that are relevant to the topic.
Identifies gaps and direction for future research
The analysis helps you to find gaps in the existing body of research. As a result, it provides direction for future analysis and helps to advance the state of knowledge on the topic. Not only this, but it also informs the development of new questions.
Informs the Evaluation and Facilitates Interpretation
It highlights the most appropriate sources and data analysis techniques. Hence, it ensures the scholar conducts a systematic and rigorous study. It also aids the interpretation of findings by providing context for generated outcomes. The researcher gains more knowledge and draws a conclusion based on a solid foundation of knowledge.
Literature analysis is a crucial component of academic research. It helps you to identify problems and provides a map for future investigation in the field. Apart from this, it compares different studies and gives them context. When you write, remember it is a great responsibility and give it your best shot.