Writing a review of literature paper
Literature Reviews What this handout 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. And a review does not necessarily mean revjew your reader wants you to give your personal opinion on whether or not you liked these sources. What is a literature review, then? A literature review discusses published information llterature a particular subject area, and sometimes information in a particular subject area within a certain liteature period.
A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it literatuer has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new rreview old interpretations.
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Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate papwr sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant.
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But how is a literature review different from an academic research paper? In a research paper, you use the literature as a foundation and as support for a new insight that you contribute. The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.
Why do we write literature reviews?
lf Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone. For professionals, they are useful reports that keep them up to date with what is current in the field.
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For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the writer in his or her field. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers. Who writes these things, anyway? Literature reviews are written occasionally in the humanities, but mostly in the sciences and social sciences; in experiment and lab reports, they constitute a section of the paper. Sometimes a literature review is written as a paper in itself. What should I do before writing the literature review? Clarify If your assignment is not very specific, seek clarification from your instructor: Roughly how many sources should you include?
What types of sources books, journal articles, websites? Should you summarize, synthesize, or critique your sources by discussing a common theme or issue? Should you evaluate your sources? Find models Look for other literature reviews in your area of interest or in the discipline and read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or ways to organize your final review. Narrow your topic There are hundreds or even thousands of articles and books on most areas of study.
The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to get a good survey of the material. Ask your professor questions such as: Consider whether your sources are current Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. In the sciences, for instance, treatments for medical problems writlng constantly changing according to the latest studies.
Information even two years old could be obsolete. However, if you are writing a review in the humanities, history, or social sciences, a survey of the history of the literature may be is the writing report on wall what is needed, because what is important is how perspectives have changed through the years or here a certain time period.
Try sorting through some other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the literqture to get a paper of what your discipline expects. You can also use this method to consider what is currently of interest to scholars in this field and what is not. Strategies for writing the literature review Find a focus A literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized.
This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together.
Mar 14, 1: And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the writing a review of literature paper pertinent or relevant. Then you look up a book written in with information on how sperm whales have been portrayed in other forms psper art, such as in Alaskan poetry, in French painting, or on whale bone, as the whale hunters in the late 19th century used to do. The Allyn and Bacon Handbook.
Do they present one or different solutions? Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? How well do they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory? Do they reveal a trend in wditing field? Pick one of these themes to focus the here of your review. Here are a couple of examples: The current trend in treatment for congestive heart failure combines surgery and medicine.
More and more cultural studies writing a review of literature paper are accepting popular media as a subject worthy of academic consideration. Now what is the writing a review of literature paper effective way of presenting the information? What are the most important topics, subtopics, etc. And in what order should you present them? Develop an organization for your review at both a global and local level: First, cover the basic categories Deview like most academic papers, literature reviews also must contain at least three basic elements: Gives a quick idea of the topic of the paped review, such as the central here or organizational pattern.
Contains your discussion of sources and is organized either chronologically, thematically, or methodologically see below for more information on each. Discuss what you have drawn from reviewing literature so far. Where might the discussion proceed?
Organizing the body Once you have the basic categories in place, then you must consider how you will present the sources themselves within the body of your paper. Create an organizational method to focus this section even further. To help you come up with an overall organizational framework for your review, consider the following scenario and then three typical ways of organizing the sources into a review: But these articles writing a review of literature paper to some British biological studies performed on whales in the early 18th century.
So you check click out. Then you look up a literatuer written in wirting information on how sperm whales have been portrayed in other forms of art, such as in Alaskan poetry, in French painting, or on whale bone, as the whale hunters in the late 19th century used to do.
This makes you wonder about American whaling methods during the time portrayed in Moby Dick, so you find some academic articles published in the last five years on how accurately Herman Melville portrayed the whaling scene in his novel. Chronological If your review follows the chronological method, you could learn more here about the materials above according to go here they were published.
For instance, first you would talk about the British biological studies of the 18th century, then about Moby Dick, published inthen the book on sperm whales in other artand finally the biology liteeature s and the recent articles on American whaling of the 19th century. But there is relatively no continuity among subjects here. 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 paprr 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 Erview 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 revuew 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 ilterature 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: Information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.
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.
Summarize and synthesize Remember writing a review of literature paper summarize and synthesize your sources within eeview paragraph as well as throughout the review. Why do we write literature reviews? Using relevant databases, search for literature sources using Google Scholar and also searching using Furl search all sources, including the Furl accounts of other Furl members. Need Help Writing the Literature Review? First, cover the basic categories Just like most academic papers, literature reviews also must contain at least three basic elements:
The criteria you used to select the sources in your literature review or the way in which you present your information. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals. Questions for Further Research: What questions about the field has the review sparked?
How will you further your research as a result of the review?
There are a few guidelines you should follow during the writing stage as well.