The term "literature review" refers to both your final product (part of an article or a stand-alone publication) and the process of conducting the review.
"...one of the first steps in planning a research project is to do a literature review: that is, to trawl through all the available information sources to track down the latest knowledge, and to assess it for relevance, quality, controversy and gaps.
The review can be used to show where you have gained inspiration to develop your ideas...it should also demonstrate you have a good understanding of the current conceptual frameworks in your subject, and that you can take a stance in placing your work within these."
A literature review includes:
From Walliman, Nicholas. 2018. Research Methods : the Basics. Second edition. Abingdon, Oxon.
Literature Search and review on your topic
Questions to ask:
How have approaches to these questions increased our understanding and knowledge?
You will likely go through the search process a number of times, performing different searches with different keyword combinations, to address the different components of your literature review.
|#1 Identify your question. Identify the key concepts and related terms. Tip: You may want to re-phrase your question. Background reading can help you identify related terms and further define or narrow your topic.
|Explore reference lists to locate other articles, books, or authors who have written on the same topic.
|#2 Find an appropriate search tool. Consider your subject matter, discipline of study, type of information needed (e.g. peer reviewed articles)
|Locate cited by literature to view more recent similar or adjacent research.
#3 Start with a simple search based on your key concepts. Tip: You may also have to look at literature that refers to one (not all) aspects of your research question.
|Browse the table of contents of relevant journals and special issues.
#4 Use specific search strategies.
|Locate an expert in the field and browse their publications.
|#5 Search and skim results. Look for the language and terms that researchers use and that the database assigns to articles (Subjects).
|#6 Switch up your searches. Use promising new terminology. Your search may become more sophisticated.
Here are eight steps toward completing a successful literature review.
From Byrne, D. (2017). What makes a successful literature review?. Project Planner. 10.4135/9781526408518.
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