In essence, a literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It illuminates how knowledge has evolved within the field, highlighting what has already been done, what is generally accepted, what is emerging and what is the current state of thinking on the topic. In addition, within research-based texts such as a Doctoral thesis, a literature review identifies a research gap i. However, your literature review does not need to be inclusive of every article and book that has been written on your topic because that will be too broad.
Guidelines for writing a literature review
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Introduction to literature reviews
Get uni sorted now. The literature review aims to compare and contrast the thinking, ideologies, concepts and thoughts in 'the field' of a particular subject area. It is a chance for the student not to simply summarise this, but to be able to compare, contrast, 'reflect upon' and indeed 'critically analyse' 'the literature' whilst also being able to layer their own thoughts and opinions on the importance of this literature into the writing.
Here you can find a short guide and a few suggestions for postgraduate research students on how to get started on a literature review. When writing your literature review, it is essential to remember that it will only be completed when your thesis is almost finished, because new research and publications are constantly being produced. At some stage you will have to be happy with what you have and leave it at that; however, you will be continually adding to your review and will probably rewrite it a number of times. It is always invaluable to read the literature reviews in other theses. These will provide possible structural models for your own literature review.