Literature review sources
Sources for literature review can be divided into three categories as illustrated in table below. In your dissertation you will need to use all three categories of literature review sources:
Sources for literature review and examples
Generally, your literature review should integrate a wide range of sources such as:
- Books . Textbooks remain as the most important source to find models and theories related to the research area. Research the most respected authorities in your selected research area and find the latest editions of books authored by them. For example, in the area of marketing the most notable authors include Philip Kotler, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Emanuel Rosen and others.
- Magazines . Industry-specific magazines are usually rich in scholarly articles and they can be effective source to learn about the latest trends and developments in the research area. Reading industry magazines can be the most enjoyable part of the literature review, assuming that your selected research area represents an area of your personal and professional interests, which should be the case anyways.
- Newspapers can be referred to as the main source of up-to-date news about the latest events related to the research area. However, the proportion of the use of newspapers in literature review is recommended to be less compared to alternative sources of secondary data such as books and magazines. This is due to the fact that newspaper articles mainly lack depth of analyses and discussions.
- Online articles . You can find online versions of all of the above sources. However, note that the levels of reliability of online articles can be highly compromised depending on the source due to the high levels of ease with which articles can be published online. Opinions offered in a wide range of online discussion blogs cannot be usually used in literature review. Similarly, dissertation assessors are not keen to appreciate references to a wide range of blogs, unless articles in these blogs are authored by respected authorities in the research area.
Your secondary data sources may comprise certain amount of grey literature as well. The term grey literature refers to type of literature produced by government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, which is not controlled by commercial publishers. It is called ‘grey’ because the status of the information in grey literature is not certain. In other words, any publication that has not been peer reviewed for publication is grey literature.
The necessity to use grey literature arises when there is no enough peer reviewed publications are available for the subject of your study.
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Writing a Literature Review
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A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.
Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?
There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.
A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.
Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.
What are the parts of a lit review?
Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.
- An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
- A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
- Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
- Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.
- Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
- Connect it back to your primary research question
How should I organize my lit review?
Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:
- Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
- Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
- Qualitative versus quantitative research
- Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
- Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.
What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?
Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .
As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.
Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:
- It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
- Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
- Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
- Read more about synthesis here.
The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.
Literature Review - what is a Literature Review, why it is important and how it is done
- Strategies to Find Sources
Evaluating Literature Reviews and Sources
Reading critically, tips to evaluate sources.
- Tips for Writing Literature Reviews
- Writing Literature Review: Useful Sites
- Citation Resources
- Other Academic Writings
- Useful Resources
A good literature review evaluates a wide variety of sources (academic articles, scholarly books, government/NGO reports). It also evaluates literature reviews that study similar topics. This page offers you a list of resources and tips on how to evaluate the sources that you may use to write your review.
- A Closer Look at Evaluating Literature Reviews Excerpt from the book chapter, “Evaluating Introductions and Literature Reviews” in Fred Pyrczak’s Evaluating Research in Academic Journals: A Practical Guide to Realistic Evaluation , (Chapter 4 and 5). This PDF discusses and offers great advice on how to evaluate "Introductions" and "Literature Reviews" by listing questions and tips. First part focus on Introductions and in page 10 in the PDF, 37 in the text, it focus on "literature reviews".
- Tips for Evaluating Sources (Print vs. Internet Sources) Excellent page that will guide you on what to ask to determine if your source is a reliable one. Check the other topics in the guide: Evaluating Bibliographic Citations and Evaluation During Reading on the left side menu.
To be able to write a good Literature Review, you need to be able to read critically. Below are some tips that will help you evaluate the sources for your paper.
Reading critically (summary from How to Read Academic Texts Critically)
- Who is the author? What is his/her standing in the field.
- What is the author’s purpose? To offer advice, make practical suggestions, solve a specific problem, to critique or clarify?
- Note the experts in the field: are there specific names/labs that are frequently cited?
- Pay attention to methodology: is it sound? what testing procedures, subjects, materials were used?
- Note conflicting theories, methodologies and results. Are there any assumptions being made by most/some researchers?
- Theories: have they evolved overtime?
- Evaluate and synthesize the findings and conclusions. How does this study contribute to your project?
- How to Read a Paper (University of Waterloo, Canada) This is an excellent paper that teach you how to read an academic paper, how to determine if it is something to set aside, or something to read deeply. Good advice to organize your literature for the Literature Review or just reading for classes.
Criteria to evaluate sources:
- Authority : Who is the author? what is his/her credentials--what university he/she is affliliated? Is his/her area of expertise?
- Usefulness : How this source related to your topic? How current or relevant it is to your topic?
- Reliability : Does the information comes from a reliable, trusted source such as an academic journal?
Useful site - Critically Analyzing Information Sources (Cornell University Library)
- << Previous: Strategies to Find Sources
- Next: Tips for Writing Literature Reviews >>
- Last Updated: Nov 25, 2021 10:46 AM
- URL: https://lit.libguides.com/Literature-Review
The Library, Technological University of the Shannon: Midwest
- Subject guides
- Researching for your literature review
- Literature sources
Researching for your literature review: Literature sources
- Literature reviews
- Getting started
- Develop a search strategy
- Keyword search activity
- Subject search activity
- Combined keyword and subject searching
- Online tutorials
- Apply search limits
- Run a search in different databases
- Supplementary searching
- Save your searches
- Manage results
It's important to make a considered decision as to where to search for your review of the literature. It's uncommon for a disciplinary area to be covered by a single publisher, so searching a single publisher platform or database is unlikely to give you sufficient coverage of studies for a review. A good quality literature review involves searching a number of databases individually.
The most common method is to search a combination of large inter-disciplinary databases such as Scopus & Web of Science Core Collection, and some subject-specific databases (such as PsycInfo or EconLit etc.). The Library databases are an excellent place to start for sources of peer-reviewed journal articles.
Depending on disciplinary expectations, or the topic of our review, you may also need to consider sources or search methods other than database searching. There is general information below on searching grey literature. However, due to the wide varieties of grey literature available, you may need to spend some time investigating sources relevant for your specific need.
Grey literature is information which has been published informally or non-commercially (where the main purpose of the producing body is not commercial publishing) or remains unpublished. One example may be Government publications.
Grey literature may be included in a literature review to minimise publication bias . The quality of grey literature can vary greatly - some may be peer reviewed whereas some may not have been through a traditional editorial process.
See the Grey Literature guide for further information on finding and evaluating grey sources.
See the Moodle book MNHS: Systematically searching the grey literature for a comprehensive module on grey literature for systematic reviews.
In certain disciplines (such as physics) there can be a culture of preprints being made available prior to submissions to journals. There has also been a noticeable rise in preprints in medical and health areas in the wake of Covid-19.
If preprints are relevant for you, you can search preprint servers directly. A workaround might be to utilise a search engine such as Google Scholar to search specifically for preprints, as Google Scholar has timely coverage of most preprint servers including ArXiv, RePec, SSRN, BioRxiv, and MedRxiv.
Articles in Press are not preprints, but are accepted manuscripts that are not yet formally published. Articles in Press have been made available as an early access online version of a paper that may not yet have received its final formatting or an allocation of a volume/issue number. As well as being available on a journal's website, Articles in Press are available in databases such as Scopus and Web of Science, and so (unlike preprints) don't necessarily require a separate search.
Conference papers are typically published in conference proceedings (the collection of papers presented at a conference), and may be found on an organisation or Society's website, as a journal, or as a special issue of journal.
In certain disciplines (such as computer science), conference papers may be highly regarded as a form of scholarly communication; the conferences are highly selective, the papers are generally peer reviewed, and papers are published in proceedings affiliated with high-quality publishing houses.
Conference papers may be indexed in a range of scholarly databases. If you only want to see conference papers, database limits can be used to filter results, or try a specific index such as the examples below:
- Conference proceedings citation index. Social science & humanities (CPCI-SSH)
- Conference proceedings citation index. Science (CPCI-S)
- ASME digital library conference proceedings
Honours students and postgraduates may request conference papers through Interlibrary Loans . However, conference paper requests may take longer than traditional article requests as they can be difficult to locate; they may have been only supplied to attendees or not formally published. Sometimes only the abstract is available.
If you are specifically looking for statistical data, try searching for the keyword statistics in a Google Advanced Search and limiting by a relevant site or domain. Below are some examples of sites, or you can try a domain such as .gov for government websites.
Statistical data can be found in the following selected sources:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics
- World Health Organization: Health Data and statistics
- Higher Education Statistics
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics
- Tourism Australia Statistics
For a list of databases that include statistics see: Databases by Subject: Statistics .
If you are specifically looking for information found in newspapers, the library has a large collection of Australian and overseas newspapers, both current and historical.
To search the full-text of newspapers in electronic format use a database such as Newsbank.
Alternatively, see the Newspapers subject guide for comprehensive information on newspaper sources available via Monash University library and open source databases, as well as searching tips, online videos and more.
Dissertations and theses
The Monash University Library Theses subject guide provides resources and guidelines for locating and accessing theses (dissertations) produced by Monash University as well as other universities in Australia and internationally.
There are a number of theses databases and repositories.
A popular source is:
- ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global which predominantly, covers North American masters and doctoral theses. Full text is available for theses added since 1997.
Australia and New Zealand theses:
Theses that are available in the library can be found using the Search catalogue.
- Monash doctoral, masters and a small number of honours theses
- other Australian and overseas theses that have been purchased for the collection.
Formats include print (not available for loan), microfiche and online (some may have access restrictions).
Trove includes doctoral, masters and some honours theses from all Australian and New Zealand universities, as well as theses awarded elsewhere but held by Australian institutions.
- Type in the title, author surname and/or keywords. Then on the results page refine your search to 'thesis'.
- Alternatively, use the Advanced search and include 'thesis' as a keyword or limi t your result to format = thesis
- << Previous: Literature reviews
- Next: Getting started >>
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.
OK. You’ve got to write a literature review. You dust off a novel and a book of poetry, settle down in your chair, and get ready to issue a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” as you leaf through the pages. “Literature review” done. Right?
Wrong! The “literature” of a literature review refers to any collection of materials on a topic, not necessarily the great literary texts of the world. “Literature” could be anything from a set of government pamphlets on British colonial methods in Africa to scholarly articles on the treatment of a torn ACL. And a review does not necessarily mean that 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 in a particular subject area, and sometimes information in a particular subject area within a certain time period.
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. 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 with old interpretations. Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant.
But how is a literature review different from an academic research paper?
The main focus of an academic research paper is to develop a new argument, and a research paper is likely to contain a literature review as one of its parts. 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?
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. For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the writer in his or her field. Literature reviews also provide a solid background for a research paper’s investigation. 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.
Let’s get to it! What should I do before writing the literature review?
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?
- Should you provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history?
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. You can simply put the word “review” in your search engine along with your other topic terms to find articles of this type on the Internet or in an electronic database. The bibliography or reference section of sources you’ve already read are also excellent entry points into your own research.
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. Your instructor will probably not expect you to read everything that’s out there on the topic, but you’ll make your job easier if you first limit your scope.
Keep in mind that UNC Libraries have research guides and to databases relevant to many fields of study. You can reach out to the subject librarian for a consultation: https://library.unc.edu/support/consultations/ .
And don’t forget to tap into your professor’s (or other professors’) knowledge in the field. Ask your professor questions such as: “If you had to read only one book from the 90’s on topic X, what would it be?” Questions such as this help you to find and determine quickly the most seminal pieces in the field.
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 are 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 what is needed, because what is important is how perspectives have changed through the years or within a certain time period. Try sorting through some other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense 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. No. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together. 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 the field? A raging debate? Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review.
Convey it to your reader
A literature review may not have a traditional thesis statement (one that makes an argument), but you do need to tell readers what to expect. Try writing a simple statement that lets the reader know what is your main organizing principle. Here are a couple of examples:
The current trend in treatment for congestive heart failure combines surgery and medicine. More and more cultural studies scholars are accepting popular media as a subject worthy of academic consideration.
You’ve got a focus, and you’ve stated it clearly and directly. Now what is the most effective way of presenting the information? What are the most important topics, subtopics, etc., that your review needs to include? 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
Just like most academic papers, literature reviews also must contain at least three basic elements: an introduction or background information section; the body of the review containing the discussion of sources; and, finally, a conclusion and/or recommendations section to end the paper. The following provides a brief description of the content of each:
- Introduction: Gives a quick idea of the topic of the literature review, such as the central theme or organizational pattern.
- Body: Contains your discussion of sources and is organized either chronologically, thematically, or methodologically (see below for more information on each).
- Conclusions/Recommendations: 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:
You’ve decided to focus your literature review on materials dealing with sperm whales. This is because you’ve just finished reading Moby Dick, and you wonder if that whale’s portrayal is really real. You start with some articles about the physiology of sperm whales in biology journals written in the 1980’s. But these articles refer to some British biological studies performed on whales in the early 18th century. So you check those out. Then you look up a book written in 1968 with 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.
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. For instance, first you would talk about the British biological studies of the 18th century, then about Moby Dick, published in 1851, then the book on sperm whales in other art (1968), and finally the biology articles (1980s) and the recent articles on American whaling of the 19th century. But there is relatively no continuity among subjects here. And notice that even though the sources on sperm whales in other art and on American whaling are written recently, they are about other subjects/objects that were created much earlier. 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. For instance, you could order a review of literature on biological studies of sperm whales if the progression revealed a change in dissection practices of the researchers who wrote and/or conducted the studies.
- By trend: A better way to organize the above sources chronologically is 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-1600-1699, 1700-1799, and 1800-1899. Under this method, you would combine the recent studies on American whaling in the 19th century with Moby Dick itself in the 1800-1899 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. The only difference here between a “chronological” and a “thematic” approach is what is emphasized the most: the development of the harpoon or the harpoon technology.But more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order. For instance, a thematic review of material on sperm whales might examine how they are portrayed as “evil” in cultural documents. 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. Instead, it focuses on the “methods” of the researcher or writer. 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 either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed. Once you’ve decided on the organizational method for the body of the review, the sections you need to include in the paper should be easy to figure out. 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:
- Current Situation: Information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.
- History: 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.
- Methods and/or Standards: 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?
Once you’ve settled on a general pattern of organization, you’re ready to write each section. There are a few guidelines you should follow during the writing stage as well. Here is a sample paragraph from a literature review about sexism and language to illuminate the following discussion:
However, other studies have shown that even gender-neutral antecedents are more likely to produce masculine images than feminine ones (Gastil, 1990). Hamilton (1988) asked students to complete sentences that required them to fill in pronouns that agreed with gender-neutral antecedents such as “writer,” “pedestrian,” and “persons.” The students were asked to describe any image they had when writing the sentence. Hamilton found that people imagined 3.3 men to each woman in the masculine “generic” condition and 1.5 men per woman in the unbiased condition. Thus, while ambient sexism accounted for some of the masculine bias, sexist language amplified the effect. (Source: Erika Falk and Jordan Mills, “Why Sexist Language Affects Persuasion: The Role of Homophily, Intended Audience, and Offense,” Women and Language19:2).
In the example above, the writers refer to several other sources when making their point. A literature review in this sense is just like any other academic research paper. Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence to show that what you are saying is valid.
Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the review’s focus, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological.
Use quotes sparingly
Falk and Mills do not use any direct quotes. That is because the survey nature of the literature review does not allow for in-depth discussion or detailed quotes from the text. Some short quotes here and there are okay, though, if you want to emphasize a point, or if what the author said just cannot be rewritten in your own words. Notice that Falk and Mills do quote certain terms that were coined by the author, not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. But if you find yourself wanting to put in more quotes, check with your instructor.
Summarize and synthesize
Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each paragraph as well as throughout the review. The authors here recapitulate important features of Hamilton’s study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study’s significance and relating it to their own work.
Keep your own voice
While the literature review presents others’ ideas, your voice (the writer’s) should remain front and center. Notice that Falk and Mills weave references to other sources into their own text, but they still maintain their own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with their own ideas and their own words. The sources support what Falk and Mills are saying.
Use caution when paraphrasing
When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author’s information or opinions accurately and in your own words. In the preceding example, Falk and Mills either directly refer in the text to the author of their source, such as Hamilton, or they provide ample notation in the text when the ideas they are mentioning are not their own, for example, Gastil’s. For more information, please see our handout on plagiarism .
Revise, revise, revise
Draft in hand? Now you’re ready to revise. Spending a lot of time revising is a wise idea, because your main objective is to present the material, not the argument. So check over your review again to make sure it follows the assignment and/or your outline. Then, just as you would for most other academic forms of writing, rewrite or rework the language of your review so that you’ve presented your information in the most concise manner possible. Be sure to use terminology familiar to your audience; get rid of unnecessary jargon or slang. Finally, double check that you’ve documented your sources and formatted the review appropriately for your discipline. For tips on the revising and editing process, see our handout on revising drafts .
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.
Jones, Robert, Patrick Bizzaro, and Cynthia Selfe. 1997. The Harcourt Brace Guide to Writing in the Disciplines . New York: Harcourt Brace.
Lamb, Sandra E. 1998. How to Write It: A Complete Guide to Everything You’ll Ever Write . Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.
Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. 2003. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook , 5th ed. New York: Longman.
Troyka, Lynn Quittman, and Doug Hesse. 2016. Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers , 11th ed. London: Pearson.
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Review of Related Literature: What Is RRL & How to Write It + Examples
A review of related literature is a separate paper or a part of an article that collects and synthesizes discussion on a topic. Its purpose is to show the current state of research on the issue and highlight gaps in existing knowledge. A literature review can be included in a research paper or scholarly article, typically following the introduction and before the research methods section.
This article will clarify the definition, significance, and structure of a review of related literature. You’ll also learn how to organize your literature review and discover ideas for an RRL in different subjects.
🔤 What Is RRL?
- ❗ Significance of Literature Review
- 🔎 How to Search for Literature
- 🧩 Literature Review Structure
- ✍️ How to Write an RRL
- 📚 Examples of RRL
A review of related literature (RRL) is a part of the research report that examines significant studies, theories, and concepts published in scholarly sources on a particular topic. An RRL includes 3 main components:
- A short overview and critique of the previous research.
- Similarities and differences between past studies and the current one.
- An explanation of the theoretical frameworks underpinning the research.
❗ Significance of Review of Related Literature
Although the goal of a review of related literature differs depending on the discipline and its intended use, its significance cannot be overstated. Here are some examples of how a review might be beneficial:
- It helps determine knowledge gaps .
- It saves from duplicating research that has already been conducted.
- It provides an overview of various research areas within the discipline.
- It demonstrates the researcher’s familiarity with the topic.
🔎 How to Perform a Literature Search
Including a description of your search strategy in the literature review section can significantly increase your grade. You can search sources with the following steps:
🧩 Literature Review Structure Example
The majority of literature reviews follow a standard introduction-body-conclusion structure. Let’s look at the RRL structure in detail.
Introduction of Review of Related Literature: Sample
An introduction should clarify the study topic and the depth of the information to be delivered. It should also explain the types of sources used. If your lit. review is part of a larger research proposal or project, you can combine its introductory paragraph with the introduction of your paper.
Here is a sample introduction to an RRL about cyberbullying:
Bullying has troubled people since the beginning of time. However, with modern technological advancements, especially social media, bullying has evolved into cyberbullying. As a result, nowadays, teenagers and adults cannot flee their bullies, which makes them feel lonely and helpless. This literature review will examine recent studies on cyberbullying.
Sample Review of Related Literature Thesis
A thesis statement should include the central idea of your literature review and the primary supporting elements you discovered in the literature. Thesis statements are typically put at the end of the introductory paragraph.
Look at a sample thesis of a review of related literature:
This literature review shows that scholars have recently covered the issues of bullies’ motivation, the impact of bullying on victims and aggressors, common cyberbullying techniques, and victims’ coping strategies. However, there is still no agreement on the best practices to address cyberbullying.
Literature Review Body Paragraph Example
The main body of a literature review should provide an overview of the existing research on the issue. Body paragraphs should not just summarize each source but analyze them. You can organize your paragraphs with these 3 elements:
- Claim . Start with a topic sentence linked to your literature review purpose.
- Evidence . Cite relevant information from your chosen sources.
- Discussion . Explain how the cited data supports your claim.
Here’s a literature review body paragraph example:
Scholars have examined the link between the aggressor and the victim. Beran et al. (2007) state that students bullied online often become cyberbullies themselves. Faucher et al. (2014) confirm this with their findings: they discovered that male and female students began engaging in cyberbullying after being subject to bullying. Hence, one can conclude that being a victim of bullying increases one’s likelihood of becoming a cyberbully.
Review of Related Literature: Conclusion
A conclusion presents a general consensus on the topic. Depending on your literature review purpose, it might include the following:
- Introduction to further research . If you write a literature review as part of a larger research project, you can present your research question in your conclusion .
- Overview of theories . You can summarize critical theories and concepts to help your reader understand the topic better.
- Discussion of the gap . If you identified a research gap in the reviewed literature, your conclusion could explain why that gap is significant.
Check out a conclusion example that discusses a research gap:
There is extensive research into bullies’ motivation, the consequences of bullying for victims and aggressors, strategies for bullying, and coping with it. Yet, scholars still have not reached a consensus on what to consider the best practices to combat cyberbullying. This question is of great importance because of the significant adverse effects of cyberbullying on victims and bullies.
✍️ How to Write Review of Related Literature – Sample
Literature reviews can be organized in many ways depending on what you want to achieve with them. In this section, we will look at 3 examples of how you can write your RRL.
Thematic Literature Review
A thematic literature review is arranged around central themes or issues discussed in the sources. If you have identified some recurring themes in the literature, you can divide your RRL into sections that address various aspects of the topic. For example, if you examine studies on e-learning, you can distinguish such themes as the cost-effectiveness of online learning, the technologies used, and its effectiveness compared to traditional education.
Chronological Literature Review
A chronological literature review is a way to track the development of the topic over time. If you use this method, avoid merely listing and summarizing sources in chronological order. Instead, try to analyze the trends, turning moments, and critical debates that have shaped the field’s path. Also, you can give your interpretation of how and why specific advances occurred.
Methodological Literature Review
A methodological literature review differs from the preceding ones in that it usually doesn’t focus on the sources’ content. Instead, it is concerned with the research methods . So, if your references come from several disciplines or fields employing various research techniques, you can compare the findings and conclusions of different methodologies, for instance:
- empirical vs. theoretical studies;
- qualitative vs. quantitative research.
📚 Examples of Review of Related Literature and Studies
Have you ever struggled with finding the topic for an RRL in different subjects? Read the following paragraphs to get some ideas!
Nursing Literature Review Example
Many topics in the nursing field require research. For example, you can write a review of literature related to dengue fever . Give a general overview of dengue virus infections, including its clinical symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and therapy.
Another good idea is to review related literature and studies about teenage pregnancy . This review can describe the effectiveness of specific programs for adolescent mothers and their children and summarize recommendations for preventing early pregnancy.
📝 Check out some more valuable examples below:
- Hospital Readmissions: Literature Review .
- Literature Review: Lower Sepsis Mortality Rates .
- Breast Cancer: Literature Review .
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Literature Review .
- PICO for Pressure Ulcers: Literature Review .
- COVID-19 Spread Prevention: Literature Review .
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Literature Review .
- Hypertension Treatment Adherence: Literature Review .
- Neonatal Sepsis Prevention: Literature Review .
- Healthcare-Associated Infections: Literature Review .
- Understaffing in Nursing: Literature Review .
Psychology Literature Review Example
If you look for an RRL topic in psychology , you can write a review of related literature about stress . Summarize scientific evidence about stress stages, side effects, types, or reduction strategies. Or you can write a review of related literature about computer game addiction . In this case, you may concentrate on the neural mechanisms underlying the internet gaming disorder, compare it to other addictions, or evaluate treatment strategies.
A review of related literature about cyberbullying is another interesting option. You can highlight the impact of cyberbullying on undergraduate students’ academic, social, and emotional development.
📝 Look at the examples that we have prepared for you to come up with some more ideas:
- Mindfulness in Counseling: A Literature Review .
- Team-Building Across Cultures: Literature Review .
- Anxiety and Decision Making: Literature Review .
- Literature Review on Depression .
- Literature Review on Narcissism .
- Effects of Depression Among Adolescents .
- Causes and Effects of Anxiety in Children .
Literature Review — Sociology Example
Sociological research poses critical questions about social structures and phenomena. For example, you can write a review of related literature about child labor , exploring cultural beliefs and social norms that normalize the exploitation of children. Or you can create a review of related literature about social media . It can investigate the impact of social media on relationships between adolescents or the role of social networks on immigrants’ acculturation .
📝 You can find some more ideas below!
- Single Mothers’ Experiences of Relationships with Their Adolescent Sons .
- Teachers and Students’ Gender-Based Interactions .
- Gender Identity: Biological Perspective and Social Cognitive Theory .
- Gender: Culturally-Prescribed Role or Biological Sex .
- The Influence of Opioid Misuse on Academic Achievement of Veteran Students .
- The Importance of Ethics in Research .
- The Role of Family and Social Network Support in Mental Health .
Education Literature Review Example
For your education studies , you can write a review of related literature about academic performance to determine factors that affect student achievement and highlight research gaps. One more idea is to create a review of related literature on study habits , considering their role in the student’s life and academic outcomes.
You can also evaluate a computerized grading system in a review of related literature to single out its advantages and barriers to implementation. Or you can complete a review of related literature on instructional materials to identify their most common types and effects on student achievement.
📝 Find some inspiration in the examples below:
- Literature Review on Online Learning Challenges From COVID-19 .
- Education, Leadership, and Management: Literature Review .
- Literature Review: Standardized Testing Bias .
- Bullying of Disabled Children in School .
- Interventions and Letter & Sound Recognition: A Literature Review .
- Social-Emotional Skills Program for Preschoolers .
- Effectiveness of Educational Leadership Management Skills .
Business Research Literature Review
If you’re a business student, you can focus on customer satisfaction in your review of related literature. Discuss specific customer satisfaction features and how it is affected by service quality and prices. You can also create a theoretical literature review about consumer buying behavior to evaluate theories that have significantly contributed to understanding how consumers make purchasing decisions.
📝 Look at the examples to get more exciting ideas:
- Leadership and Communication: Literature Review .
- Human Resource Development: Literature Review .
- Project Management. Literature Review .
- Strategic HRM: A Literature Review .
- Customer Relationship Management: Literature Review .
- Literature Review on International Financial Reporting Standards .
- Cultures of Management: Literature Review .
To conclude, a review of related literature is a significant genre of scholarly works that can be applied in various disciplines and for multiple goals. The sources examined in an RRL provide theoretical frameworks for future studies and help create original research questions and hypotheses.
When you finish your outstanding literature review, don’t forget to check whether it sounds logical and coherent. Our text-to-speech tool can help you with that!
- Literature Reviews | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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- Methods for Literature Reviews | National Library of Medicine
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Need, Importance and 5 Sources of Review of Related Literature in Educational Research
Back to: Introduction to Educational Research Methodology
Educational research means the organized collection and examination of the data related to education. It is a scientific study that examines the learning and teaching methods for better understanding of the education system. It is an observation and investigation in the field of education. Research is done in search of new knowledge or to use the existing knowledge in a better way. It helps to acquire useful knowledge and solve the challenges faced in education. Research tries to get a better understanding of education.
Literature review means the overview of the works published previously on a subject matter. It is the summary of the work done by other authors on a topic. Literature review will help a researcher in understanding how to carry on the research and what needs to be covered.
Need of Reviewing Related Literature
i. Avoid repetition and duplication of the study.
ii. Find out the gaps in research.
iii. Identify the additional research needed to be done.
iv. Gain extensive knowledge on a particular topic.
v. Help understand what has already been covered about a topic and the findings need to be done for future research.
Importance of Review of Related Literature
i. Help researchers to understand their topic of interest in-depth.
ii. Help to identify the gaps uncovered by previous authors on a topic and collect relevant data.
iii. Get an understanding of how to carry on the research.
Five Sources to Review Related Literature
Scholarly journal articles.
Journal articles are an important source of literature review. It helps to understand how to carry out the research and the findings to be done.
To collect statistical data, government websites can be very beneficial as it can provide a lot of information. Government websites are another important source of literature review.
Academic books consist of works written by several authors. It contains original work which will be very helpful in literature review.
Conference and seminar reports are also an important source of literature review to understand the thoughts of authors and works previously published in a field of study.
Libraries contain numerous books and works on a topic by different authors. Plenty of information and facts can be obtained from this source of literature review.
A quick guide to conducting an effective review of related literature (RRL)
Planning to Write
A question that we often get asked is how to review related literature. However, before we discuss that let’s first understand what a review of related literature (RRL) is.
What’s an RRL?
Put simply, RRL is a thorough and in-depth analysis of existing literature related to the topic of your thesis or dissertation. In an RRL, you can include the concepts, methods, and results of the existing literature relevant to your topic; this will give you an overview of what has been done in your field of research, the methods adopted that lead to the conclusions mentioned in the existing literature, and if there is a gap or conflict in the existing literature. The gap or conflict is what you can address through your research question.
Is it worth spending all that time on a detailed literature review?
Yes! A detailed literature review has a three-fold purpose:
1. Enables you to showcase your understanding of the subject and the work done in your field till the time of your research.
2. Helps you define the problem statement and the purpose of your own research by identifying and highlighting a gap or conflict in the existing literature.
3. Helps you set context for your research by summarizing everything that your readers—journal editors, referees, and other researchers—must know about your field of research to comprehend your work better.
Easy steps to doing an effective review of related literature
Before you begin the RRL
1. Decide how you wish to organize your review:
There are several approaches you may take to present your literature review. Through this table, you may understand the difference between two of the most used approaches and choose the best approach for your manuscript:
2. Understand the difference between a study background and a literature review: Understand how study background and literature review are different here: INFOGRAPHIC: 6 Differences between study background and literature review
3. Shortlist a good reference management software: It is also recommended that you shortlist a good reference management software like Zotero to manage your bibliographic data and related research materials.
During the literature review process and at the writing stage
1. Identify relevant literature: The first and foremost step to conduct an RRL is to identify relevant literature. You can do this through various sources, online and offline. When going through the resources, make notes and identify key concepts of each resource to describe in the review. Discovering relevant work is highly important. Targeted search, following the citations of any relevant manuscript, and using a reference manager are some of the things to remember. You may look for other useful tips here: Tips for effective literature searching and keeping up with new publications
2. Structure your literature review well as you write it:
Similar to other components of a manuscript like the Introduction and Method sections, literature review is an important part of your manuscript. A literature review, especially if it is a stand-alone paper would usually have these components:
- Introduction: You may begin your RRL by setting some context for your readers by providing information about the field of study, the relevance of the chosen topic within the field, and the focus of the literature review.
- Methods: In this section, you may describe the criteria used to select the sources or the way in which the information has been presented. This makes it easier for the readers to understand your approach.
- Body: This section is where you list all the related literature and talk about their relevance with respect to your research. The structure of the list depends entirely upon the approach you wish to take—chronological or thematic o any other. A chronological model would probably have different paragraphs for different time periods, while a thematic model would have sub-topics based on the different themes.
- Discussion and conclusion: This section summarizes the main contributions of significant studies and discusses the questions that the review has raised about the topic and field. This is also the section where you highlight the gaps in research that the review has sparked and the possible suggestions for future research.
- Reference list: The reference list is a very important part of a literature review as your article is based entirely on primary sources. The reference list should be comprehensive and page numbers and section details should be provided wherever necessary.
However, if the literature review is part of the manuscript, then the way it is structured will depend on journal requirements. It can be written as a single paragraph, but the paragraph can be structured to include the Introduction, Methods, etc. but without the actual sub-headings.
While a literature review can be published as an independent piece of writing or as part of a larger article, the basis for any kind of review of literature remains the same. It allows new researchers and busy scientists in the field to keep up to date with the latest happenings in the field and helps them to identify potential areas of research.
If you have any further doubts related to this topic, feel free to use the comments section to ask questions. Alternately, you can also post your question on our Q&A forum and our expert will be sure to provide the necessary guidance.
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Published on: Jan 06, 2023
- Literature Review
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Frequently asked questions
What is a literature review.
A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .
It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.
Frequently asked questions: Academic writing
A rhetorical tautology is the repetition of an idea of concept using different words.
Rhetorical tautologies occur when additional words are used to convey a meaning that has already been expressed or implied. For example, the phrase “armed gunman” is a tautology because a “gunman” is by definition “armed.”
A logical tautology is a statement that is always true because it includes all logical possibilities.
Logical tautologies often take the form of “either/or” statements (e.g., “It will rain, or it will not rain”) or employ circular reasoning (e.g., “she is untrustworthy because she can’t be trusted”).
You may have seen both “appendices” or “appendixes” as pluralizations of “ appendix .” Either spelling can be used, but “appendices” is more common (including in APA Style ). Consistency is key here: make sure you use the same spelling throughout your paper.
The purpose of a lab report is to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method with a hands-on lab experiment. Course instructors will often provide you with an experimental design and procedure. Your task is to write up how you actually performed the experiment and evaluate the outcome.
In contrast, a research paper requires you to independently develop an original argument. It involves more in-depth research and interpretation of sources and data.
A lab report is usually shorter than a research paper.
The sections of a lab report can vary between scientific fields and course requirements, but it usually contains the following:
- Title: expresses the topic of your study
- Abstract: summarizes your research aims, methods, results, and conclusions
- Introduction: establishes the context needed to understand the topic
- Method: describes the materials and procedures used in the experiment
- Results: reports all descriptive and inferential statistical analyses
- Discussion: interprets and evaluates results and identifies limitations
- Conclusion: sums up the main findings of your experiment
- References: list of all sources cited using a specific style (e.g. APA)
- Appendices: contains lengthy materials, procedures, tables or figures
A lab report conveys the aim, methods, results, and conclusions of a scientific experiment . Lab reports are commonly assigned in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .
If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.
If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.
To make this process easier and faster, you can use a paraphrasing tool . With this tool, you can rewrite your text to make it simpler and shorter. If that’s not enough, you can copy-paste your paraphrased text into the summarizer . This tool will distill your text to its core message.
Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .
- Revising is making structural and logical changes to your text—reformulating arguments and reordering information.
- Editing refers to making more local changes to things like sentence structure and phrasing to make sure your meaning is conveyed clearly and concisely.
- Proofreading involves looking at the text closely, line by line, to spot any typos and issues with consistency and correct them.
The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .
There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:
- To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
- To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
- To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
- To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
- To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic
Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.
Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:
- The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
- The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.
There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.
An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:
- To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
- To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.
Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.
In a scientific paper, the methodology always comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion . The same basic structure also applies to a thesis, dissertation , or research proposal .
Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.
Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:
- Take a break : Set your work aside for at least a few hours so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.
- Proofread a printout : Staring at a screen for too long can cause fatigue – sit down with a pen and paper to check the final version.
- Use digital shortcuts : Take note of any recurring mistakes (for example, misspelling a particular word, switching between US and UK English , or inconsistently capitalizing a term), and use Find and Replace to fix it throughout the document.
If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.
Editing and proofreading are different steps in the process of revising a text.
Editing comes first, and can involve major changes to content, structure and language. The first stages of editing are often done by authors themselves, while a professional editor makes the final improvements to grammar and style (for example, by improving sentence structure and word choice ).
Proofreading is the final stage of checking a text before it is published or shared. It focuses on correcting minor errors and inconsistencies (for example, in punctuation and capitalization ). Proofreaders often also check for formatting issues, especially in print publishing.
The cost of proofreading depends on the type and length of text, the turnaround time, and the level of services required. Most proofreading companies charge per word or page, while freelancers sometimes charge an hourly rate.
For proofreading alone, which involves only basic corrections of typos and formatting mistakes, you might pay as little as $0.01 per word, but in many cases, your text will also require some level of editing , which costs slightly more.
It’s often possible to purchase combined proofreading and editing services and calculate the price in advance based on your requirements.
There are many different routes to becoming a professional proofreader or editor. The necessary qualifications depend on the field – to be an academic or scientific proofreader, for example, you will need at least a university degree in a relevant subject.
For most proofreading jobs, experience and demonstrated skills are more important than specific qualifications. Often your skills will be tested as part of the application process.
To learn practical proofreading skills, you can choose to take a course with a professional organization such as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders . Alternatively, you can apply to companies that offer specialized on-the-job training programmes, such as the Scribbr Academy .
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- Research Process
Literature Review in Research Writing
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Table of Contents
Research on research? If you find this idea rather peculiar, know that nowadays, with the huge amount of information produced daily all around the world, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep up to date with all of it. In addition to the sheer amount of research, there is also its origin. We are witnessing the economic and intellectual emergence of countries like China, Brazil, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates, for example, that are producing scholarly literature in their own languages. So, apart from the effort of gathering information, there must also be translators prepared to unify all of it in a single language to be the object of the literature survey. At Elsevier, our team of translators is ready to support researchers by delivering high-quality scientific translations , in several languages, to serve their research – no matter the topic.
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a study – or, more accurately, a survey – involving scholarly material, with the aim to discuss published information about a specific topic or research question. Therefore, to write a literature review, it is compulsory that you are a real expert in the object of study. The results and findings will be published and made available to the public, namely scientists working in the same area of research.
How to Write a Literature Review
First of all, don’t forget that writing a literature review is a great responsibility. It’s a document that is expected to be highly reliable, especially concerning its sources and findings. You have to feel intellectually comfortable in the area of study and highly proficient in the target language; misconceptions and errors do not have a place in a document as important as a literature review. In fact, you might want to consider text editing services, like those offered at Elsevier, to make sure your literature is following the highest standards of text quality. You want to make sure your literature review is memorable by its novelty and quality rather than language errors.
Writing a literature review requires expertise but also organization. We cannot teach you about your topic of research, but we can provide a few steps to guide you through conducting a literature review:
- Choose your topic or research question: It should not be too comprehensive or too limited. You have to complete your task within a feasible time frame.
- Set the scope: Define boundaries concerning the number of sources, time frame to be covered, geographical area, etc.
- Decide which databases you will use for your searches: In order to search the best viable sources for your literature review, use highly regarded, comprehensive databases to get a big picture of the literature related to your topic.
- Search, search, and search: Now you’ll start to investigate the research on your topic. It’s critical that you keep track of all the sources. Start by looking at research abstracts in detail to see if their respective studies relate to or are useful for your own work. Next, search for bibliographies and references that can help you broaden your list of resources. Choose the most relevant literature and remember to keep notes of their bibliographic references to be used later on.
- Review all the literature, appraising carefully it’s content: After reading the study’s abstract, pay attention to the rest of the content of the articles you deem the “most relevant.” Identify methodologies, the most important questions they address, if they are well-designed and executed, and if they are cited enough, etc.
If it’s the first time you’ve published a literature review, note that it is important to follow a special structure. Just like in a thesis, for example, it is expected that you have an introduction – giving the general idea of the central topic and organizational pattern – a body – which contains the actual discussion of the sources – and finally the conclusion or recommendations – where you bring forward whatever you have drawn from the reviewed literature. The conclusion may even suggest there are no agreeable findings and that the discussion should be continued.
Why are literature reviews important?
Literature reviews constantly feed new research, that constantly feeds literature reviews…and we could go on and on. The fact is, one acts like a force over the other and this is what makes science, as a global discipline, constantly develop and evolve. As a scientist, writing a literature review can be very beneficial to your career, and set you apart from the expert elite in your field of interest. But it also can be an overwhelming task, so don’t hesitate in contacting Elsevier for text editing services, either for profound edition or just a last revision. We guarantee the very highest standards. You can also save time by letting us suggest and make the necessary amendments to your manuscript, so that it fits the structural pattern of a literature review. Who knows how many worldwide researchers you will impact with your next perfectly written literature review.
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Writing a good review article
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Review of Related Literature
This chapter presents the kind of sources from which the researcher mostly gathered. It also explains the significant information about the references on the specific study. It is a summary of all the theories and findings obtained in the review of related literature relating them to the objective of the problem of the study. Foreign Parenting practices of a representative sample of 1,056 urban mothers with very young children were studied via the Parent Behavior Checklist (Fox, 1994) and the Behavior Screening Questionnaire (Richman & Graham, 1971).
Potential determinants of parenting practices were also addressed, including maternal age, marital status, education level, number of children living at home, and family socioeconomic status. Less positive parenting practices concerning nurturing and discipline were found among mothers who were younger, had more than one child living at home, were single, had a lower income level, and had lower educational attainment. These mothers also tended to perceive their children as demonstrating more difficult behavior problems.
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However, the negative influence of some determinants of parenting practices, such as low income, was found to be moderated by the presence of other determinants, such as more education. The present results provide evidence that multiple determinants influence parenting practices among parents of young children. (Robert A. Fox, Donald L. Platz & Kathleen S. Bentley, “Maternal Factors Related to Parenting Practices, Developmental Expectations, and Perceptions of Child Behavior Problems”. 2010, p 431-441).
This article reviews the literature on the relationship among parenting practices, parenting styles , and adolescent school achievement. The review of the empirical research indicates that parental involvement and monitoring are robust predictors of adolescent achievement. Several studies, however, indicate that parental involvement declines in adolescence, prompting the call for future research on the reasons for and associated consequences of this decline. Furthermore, the review indicates that authoritative parenting tyles are often associated with higher levels of student achievement, although these findings are not consistent across culture, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Darling and Steinberg’s contextual model of parenting provides a promising model to help resolve these discrepancies, however, further research is needed to examine the major linkages of the model. It is also argued that the contextual model should expand its notion of context towards the larger cultural and economic context in which families reside. Spera, Christopher, “Educational Psychology Review: A Review of the Relationship Among Parenting Practices, Parenting Styles, and Adolescent School Achievement”. June 2005, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 125-146). Research over the past 20 years suggests that the quality of the parent-adolescent relationship significantly affects the development of risk behaviors in adolescent health. The purpose of this paper is to present a review of studies published between 1996-2007 that address specific relationships between parenting styles and six priority adolescent risk behaviors.
The review supports the substantial influence of parenting style on adolescent development. Adolescents raised in authoritative households consistently demonstrate higher protective and fewer risk behaviors than adolescents from non-authoritative families. There is also considerable evidence to show that parenting styles and behaviors related to warmth, communication and disciplinary practices predict important mediators, including academic achievement and psychosocial adjustment.
Careful examination of parenting style patterns in diverse populations, particularly with respect to physical activity and unintentional injury, will be a critical next step in the development of efficacious, culturally tailored adolescent health promotion interventions. (Kathy Newman Lynda Harrison2 2 Carol Dashiff Susan Davies3 Newman K, Harrison L, Dashiff C, Davies S. “Relationships between parenting styles and risk behaviors in adolescent health: an integrative literature review. Rev Latino-am Enfermagem”. 2008, janeiro-fevereiro; 16(1):142-50).
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120 Fresh and Thought-Provoking Topics for Literature Reviews in Different Disciplines
A literature review is an account of the scholarly works published on a topic. It is different from an annotated bibliography – and far more interesting at that. Instead of being just a list of summaries, a literature review synthesizes the information from all available sources in an overall relationship to your guiding concept. This may be the problem you are discussing, a statement you are arguing, a theory you are verifying, etc.
The goals of a literature review may vary:
- giving a historical overview of the research in the field
- summarizing the existing state of the topic
- finding a problem or a gap in the research field
- developing a new theory, etc.
That is why good literature review topics are often formulated as research questions. This type of paper is not an easy writing. You will need to parse immense volumes of information, synthesize and summarize coherently. You also need to devote plenty of time to reading.
This post contains a list of literature review topics suggested for various subjects. However, when choosing the most fitting one to dig into, ask yourself, what are the passions that you can apply to this research? This assignment will take a while, so you will need more than just a good study discipline to soldier on. A bit of enthusiasm and intrinsic motivation will get you much farther.
Literature Review Topics Examples on English and World Literature
Some of the suggestions in this post are linked to literature review examples in our free database. By clicking on a title, you get to a corresponding sample page, where you can read the entire text. If the topic you like isn't linked, but you would like to read an example, you can order it. We will arrange the most qualified paper writer to prepare it for you exclusively.
Ready? Let's start with topics for literature review papers on English and World Literature.
- Phoenix as a symbol for endurance in a worn path
- The novel Intuition by Allegra Goodman
- Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark through Girard's Lens
- Ender's Game by an Orson Scott Card
- Depiction of freedom and happiness in Brave New World
- Feminism and Post-Colonialism in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games
- Rationality, logic, and mathematics in the novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
- Victims of their time as a character type in the World literature
- The last days of Judas Iscariot : a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis
- The use of symbolism in Kafka's prose
- Naturalism in American literature
- Grotesque and Sublime in the prose of Edgar Allan Poe
Lit Review Topic Ideas on Science and Technology
Next are some literature review topic ideas on science and technology.
- Electronic library and effects of its implementation
- Benjamin Franklin: scientist and inventor
- Virtual Reality, science fiction, and society today
- Science, Technology, and Society as a field of knowledge
- Frederick Winslow Taylor and the principles of scientific management
- What is the future of work
- Concepts of science and technology
- The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis and influence of technological advancement on man and nature
- Types of machine learning
- Internet of Things and biometrics: implications, benefits, threats
- Emotional intelligence and natural language processing
- SmartCity projects that have already been implemented and their lessons
As the field is vast, we can barely scratch the surface with these suggestions. To help you with brainstorming, here are a few tips on how to choose good topics for a literature review yourself:
- Make sure the topic ties nicely with class requirements as well as your interests
- Do some preliminary research to see if there is enough literature on your topic
- Scale up if the information is scarce or down if there are too many sources to handle
- Use sources recommended for reading in the class materials
- Supplement the list with only trustworthy scholarly sources
Follow these guidelines, and you are on a path to some great ideas!
Psychology Literature Review Topics
When brainstorming topics on psychology, don't forget about the subdisciplines: biopsychology, social, educational, organizational, etc. If the suggestions below won't be enough, try looking for inspiration in Biology, Sociology, Education, or Business. The most exciting topics are often at the intersection of different areas of knowledge!
- Tricyclic antidepressants vs. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in treatment of depression
- Stress, its causes, effects, and coping strategies
- The family system and psychology
- Tibetan compassion practices: working with terror, trauma, and transcendence
- Behaviorism psychology
- Culture and psychopathology
- Correlation between diet and cognitive functions in primary school students
- The evolutionary role of phobias and intrusive thoughts
- Popular psychology and its implications
- PTSD in mass disasters survivors: immediate relief and long-term assistance
- Cults and vulnerable populations
- False memories and gaslighting
Nursing Literature Review Topics
Nursing lit review topics are probably the most diverse in scale, as you can see from the examples below. They can describe a larger issue or a concrete solution applied to a narrowly defined problem. Following this principle, you can modify our lit review topics suggestions zooming out or in on the subject material.
- Legalization of medical marijuana and its effects on the youth
- Health effects of fiber: research findings
- Achieving higher levels of education and training for nurses
- Organic foods and cardiovascular disease
- The importance of Central Venous Line (CVL) and Central Venous Access Devices (CVAD)
- What effects do different types of music have on humans and their mental health?
- The use of laboratory-grown organs for transplantation
- The role of xylitol in alleviating dry mouth
- The detection of tar and nicotine content of cigarette smoke extract using HPLC
- Rheumatoid arthritis: etiology, diagnosis, vulnerable populations
- Mobility aids for the elderly and quality of life
- The role of play in the recuperation of hospitalized children
Education Literature Review Topics
To get more ideas from these literature review topic examples, try isolating an issue and put it in another educational context. For instance, student motivation in primary school vs. middle school or sleep deprivation in high school vs. college. This should give you plenty of material for brainstorming.
- Simulation education for crisis prevention program
- A critical consideration of the new pedagogy in its relation to modern science
- Lack of students interest in studying science
- Discovery-based learning and student-centered learning with a focus on mathematics at a high school level
- The adverse effects of sleep deprivation on academic performance: a college student's struggle
- Gender bias in special education programs
- Higher education for senior citizens: challenges and best practices
- Significant challenges of the teaching profession in the US
- Factors contributing to international student mobility
- Student motivation in private vs. state colleges
- Benefits and challenges of homeschooling for students and families
- Correlation between workload, stress levels, and self-esteem in middle-school students
Sociology Literature Review Topics
The best advice on finding current sociology topics is to look at the challenges your community faces. Become the first one to notice and address these issues!
- Are video games affecting our current and future students ?
- Ways to prevent social media bullying
- Spanking of children in the USA
- The relation of poverty and exposure to crime in adolescent men
- Transgender discrimination
- The link between science and Utopia in Utopia and the New Atlantis
- Effectiveness of group therapy in social work
- Peer pressure, depression, and causes of suicide in the adolescents
- Religious separatism social issues connected with it
- Causes and effects of domestic abuse
- Physical appearance and social status
- Race, nationality, ethnicity, and identity
Political Science Literature Review Topics
Political science is one of the more formal disciplines on this list. Being heavy with abstract concepts, it doesn't lend itself easily to casual brainstorming. Well, at least start with these:
- Electoral College, its functions, and role in public life
- Why American and the British IPE are so different
- Contingency planning
- Effects of political gerrymandering
- American political parties
- The present urban regimes in Canada
- International policies and domestic regulations: precedence and clashes
- Tolerance as a political virtue
- Grassroots activism and its impact on state and federal law
- National security and constitutional freedoms
- Historical analysis of anarchism
- The effect of social media on civic engagement
Criminal Justice Literature Review Topics
Criminal justice is a complex field. It's ripe with variance and challenges – which is good for topic ideas at least. And you have state, federal, and international levels to add more variables.
- Juvenile justice and the Missouri model
- Car-related crime in the USA
- An analysis of the impact of sexual harassment/sexual assault in the military
- The process of the arbitration without the involvement of national courts
- Serial killers and profiling
- Policing and criminal justice systems
- Psychological effects of cyberbullying on adolescents
- Sexual human trafficking from the Central America region
- Human sex-trafficking: the Canadian perspective
- Gender and racial bias in criminal investigations
- Possible ethical and legal dilemmas of using sniffer dogs
- Sting operations vs. entrapment: ethics and regulations
Chemistry and Biology Literature Review Topics
Biology is fascinating. It has something for everyone: from biochemistry and genetics to ecosystems and nature preservation. Here are some suggestions to guide your choice:
- Brain size correlation
- Haruko Obokata, ethics of stem cells research, and scientific misconduct
- Genomic and molecular genetics major and its perspectives for students
- DNA use in mass disasters
- DNA detection from dried blood spots
- Captive breeding of marine mammals: pros and cons
- The Dynamics of ER and mitochondria
- Biomarkers in gastric cancer treatment
- The chemistry behind gene splicing
- Carcinogens and hyper-processed foods
- Primates and monkeys as potential sources of novel zoonotic infections
- Natural gases, ecosystems, and the global warming
Business and Marketing Literature Review Topics
Finally, here are some business and marketing topics as well. These disciplines might be relatively new, but they are among the most dynamic and information-rich – which means great fun to explore.
- Effectiveness of neuromarketing in comparison to traditional marketing methods
- Green supply chain management
- Effectiveness of e-marketing to non-profit making organizations
- The value of information
- Shareholder engagement/activism and corporate performance
- The relationship between ethics, stress, and productivity in the workplace
- The role of integrity in business
- Client confidentiality and its role in a prosperous business
- Businesses, their impact on the community, and social responsibility
- Startup fundraising stages
- Innovative marketing in the age of instant feedback: risks and possibilities
- Strategies for staff motivation
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Review of Related Literature in Thesis
A review of related literature should have information about the problem statement, the theories that explain the presence of the problem, the findings of the study and the recommendation for further study.
The following are the purpose of Review of Related Literature:
- It provides an overview to the literature about the research’s topic
- It offers insight into the theoretical, conceptual and background of the study
- It helps the researcher to gather reliable data and ideas to be use as guidelines to the research
- It helps to justify the research
- It shows that the research has been studied previously
- It allow the researcher to learn from previous study
- It outline the gaps in previous study
- It highlights mistakes in previous study
- It ensure that the propose research is not done previously or repeated
- It can a source of theoretical basis of the study
Sources for Review of Related Literature
- General References – indexes, reviews and abstract
- Primary Sources – research found on published journals
- Secondary Sources – books and encyclopedias
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Chapter 5: The Literature Review
5.3 Acceptable sources for literature reviews
Following are a few acceptable sources for literature reviews, listed in order from what will be considered most acceptable to less acceptable sources for your literature review assignments:
- Peer reviewed journal articles.
- Edited academic books.
- Articles in professional journals.
- Statistical data from government websites.
- Website material from professional associations (use sparingly and carefully). The following sections will explain and provide examples of these various sources.
Peer reviewed journal articles (papers)
A peer reviewed journal article is a paper that has been submitted to a scholarly journal, accepted, and published. Peer review journal papers go through a rigorous, blind review process of peer review. What this means is that two to three experts in the area of research featured in the paper have reviewed and accepted the paper for publication. The names of the author(s) who are seeking to publish the research have been removed (blind review), so as to minimize any bias towards the authors of the research (albeit, sometimes a savvy reviewer can discern who has done the research based upon previous publications, etc.). This blind review process can be long (often 12 to 18 months) and may involve many back and forth edits on the behalf of the researchers, as they work to address the edits and concerns of the peers who reviewed their paper. Often, reviewers will reject the paper for a variety of reasons, such as unclear or questionable methods, lack of contribution to the field, etc. Because peer reviewed journal articles have gone through a rigorous process of review, they are considered to be the premier source for research. Peer reviewed journal articles should serve as the foundation for your literature review.
The following link will provide more information on peer reviewed journal articles. Make sure you watch the little video on the upper left-hand side of your screen, in addition to reading the material at the following website: http://guides.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/c.php?g=288333&p=1922599
Edited academic books
An edited academic book is a collection of scholarly scientific papers written by different authors. The works are original papers, not published elsewhere (“Edited volume,” 2018). The papers within the text also go through a process of review; however, the review is often not a blind review because the authors have been invited to contribute to the book. Consequently, edited academic books are fine to use for your literature review, but you also want to ensure that your literature review contains mostly peer reviewed journal papers.
Articles in professional journals
Articles from professional journals should be used with caution for your literature review. This is because articles in trade journals are not usually peer reviewed, even though they may appear to be. A good way to find out is to read the “About Us” section of the professional journal, which should state whether or not the papers are peer reviewed. You can also find out by Googling the name of the journal and adding “peer reviewed” to the search.
Statistical data from governmental websites
Governmental websites can be excellent sources for statistical data, e.g, Statistics Canada collects and publishes data related to the economy, society, and the environment (see https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/start ).
Website material from professional associations
Material from other websites can also serve as a source for statistics that you may need for your literature review. Since you want to justify the value of the research that interests you, you might make use of a professional association’s website to learn how many members they have, for example. You might want to demonstrate, as part of the introduction to your literature review, why more research on the topic of PTSD in police officers is important. You could use peer reviewed journal articles to determine the prevalence of PTSD in police officers in Canada in the last ten years, and then use the Ontario Police Officers´ Association website to determine the approximate number of police officers employed in the Province of Ontario over the last ten years. This might help you estimate how many police officers could be suffering with PTSD in Ontario. That number could potentially help to justify a research grant down the road. But again, this type of website- based material should be used with caution and sparingly.
Research Methods for the Social Sciences: An Introduction by Valerie Sheppard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Synchronous ovarian and Bartholin gland carcinoma: Case report and review of literature
- 1 Oxford Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK.
- 2 ElShatby Maternity University Hospital, Gynecology Oncology Center, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.
- 3 Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health, The Women's Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.
- PMID: 37221998
- DOI: 10.1002/ijgo.14880
To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of synchronous ovarian and vulva (Bartholin gland) cancer. A postmenopausal woman presented with a complex multiloculated left adnexal mass and 2-cm right Bartholin gland mass. CA 125 was 59 IU/mL. Computed tomography of chest, abdomen, and pelvis showed a very large (32 × 13.5 × 22.5 cm) complex mass arising from the pelvis and extending to the level of the T12/L1 disk space. A right Bartholin mass with suspicious right inguinal nodes was seen. Midline laparotomy, total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophrectomy, infracolic omentectomy, pelvic peritoneal biopsies, and peritoneal washings were carried out. Wide local excision of the right Bartholin gland mass was carried out in the same setting. Histopathology came back as Stage 2B left ovarian clear-cell carcinoma and synchronous right Bartholin gland adenoid cystic carcinoma with lymphovascular invasion, incompletely excised, staged at least FIGO Stage 1B. Following local multidisciplinary team discussion and positron emission tomography scan review, the local committee agreed to start three cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy then proceed with Bartholin gland scar re-excision and bilateral groin lymph node dissection. After the three cycles, the groin lymph nodes came back as metastatic adenocarcinoma with overall morphologic and immunohistochemical features consistent with metastatic ovarian clear-cell carcinoma. Postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy was given. Initial follow-up period over 9 months was uneventful.
Keywords: Bartholin gland carcinoma; metastatic inguinal lymph nodes; ovarian cancers; synchronous.
© 2023 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.