Use evidence In the example above, the writers refer to several other sources when making their point. This is particularly true in disciplines in medicine and the sciences where research conducted becomes obsolete very quickly as new discoveries are made. 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. Rosen, Leonard J. A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?
Define key terms: look for differences in the way keys terms are defined note these differences. Or the review might focus on the economic impact of whaling on a community. 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. Their system provides an excellent guide for getting through the massive amounts of literature for any purpose: in a dissertation, an M. 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. What are the most important topics, subtopics, etc.
The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint.
Put in only what is necessary. What sources have they cited to support their conclusions? What theories have been used to explain, predict, or understand their research problem?
Online Writing Center. Sort through other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects.
Standards: the way in which you present your information. 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. Step Three: Find relevant excerpts in your books and articles: Skim the contents of each book and article and look specifically for these five things: 1.
Once you complete these six steps, you will have a complete draft of your literature review. Now consider some typical ways of organizing the sources into a review: Chronological: If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials above according to when they were published. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations. What are you being asked to do in your literature review? New York: Harcourt Brace, Structure and Writing Style I.
It is a good idea, as part of your literature search, to look for existing literature reviews that have already been written on this topic. Take the slips of paper to a table or large workspace and figure out the best way to organize them.
Liberty University; Literature Reviews. Following Cronon, the racial and class politics of wilderness preservation was a theme taken up by several scholars in the late s and early s, who researched the material effects of conservation politics on indigenous and rural Americans Catton ; Spence ; Jacoby You will need to experiment with different searches, such as limiting your search to descriptors that appear only in the document titles, or in both the document title and in the abstract. What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review. Some questions to ask: How are they organizing their ideas?
How will you further your research as a result of the review? These gaps will be important for you to address as you plan and write your review. Like essays, a literature review must have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant. Or the review might focus on the economic impact of whaling on a community.
Recapitulate important features of a research study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study's significance and relating it to your own work.