How to Write a Literature Review
A scholarly literature review is not the same as a book review, as a literary report references a variety of different books, articles, and other sources that are related to a specific issue in order to produce a critical evaluation of each piece. As such, the primary purpose of a literary report is to provide an overview of the significant pieces of literature that have been published on a particular topic.
When learning how to write a literature review, you will need to go through four primary stages:
• Problem formulation
• Literature search
• Data evaluation
• Analysis and interpretation
With the problem formulation stage, you must determine the general field to examine, and then you must choose a focused topic within that general field. Next, you will conduct a literature search in order to find those materials that are relevant to the topic that you are researching.
After gathering the various pieces of literature that are relevant to the topic, you will then need to decide upon which pieces make the most significant contribution to being able to understand the topic. After making this determination, you will then discuss these various pieces of literature and explain their relevance to the subject.
In order to write a literature review, you will need to first provide the reader with an overview of the subject, theory, or issue about which you will be writing. In addition, you will need to provide the reader with a brief overview of the objectives that you will be discussing in the review.
Next, you will need to divide the various literary works into different categories. You will need to develop the categories on your own, in accordance with how they are related to the broader subject matter. In many cases, however, the best way to divide the works is into the following categories:
• those that support a certain position;
• those that do not support a certain position;
• those that offer alternative viewpoints on the same, general topic.
Once you have established the categories, the body of your paper will include at least one paragraph for each of your categories. Within these paragraphs, you will explain how each literary piece is both similar to and different from the others.
For the conclusion of your literature review, you should discuss which pieces you feel are the best to offer in the subject area. In order to select the best pieces, you should consider which ones make the most convincing argument, which make the greatest contribution on the subject, and which demonstrate the greatest understanding of the subject. Other areas to consider include the author's credentials, the strength of the data used to support the author's point-of-view, and the objectivity of the author.
Remember, when engaged in literature review writing, your goal is to place each of the works within the context of its contribution to the subject. You also have to describe the relationship of each piece to the topic, as well as discuss the overall impact that each piece has on the field of study about which it was written.
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