What is a literature review?
A review of the literature is a compilation of the research that has been published on a topic by recognized scholars and researchers. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic and what their strengths and weaknesses might be.
A literature review should do the following:
A. Be organized around and related to the research question you are developing.
B. Synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known.
C. Identify gaps or areas of controversy in the literature.
D. Formulate questions that need further research.
Conducting a Review of the Literature:
Step 1. Familiarize yourself with the scholarly journal literature by browsing the libraries’ E-Journals lists.
Step 2: Identify the keywords and phrases that describe your topic by making a list of possible synonyms.
Step 3: Select and search appropriate databases or search tools, for example:
- Academic Search Complete (Multidisciplinary)
- LexisNexis Academic (Current news)
- ERIC (Scholarly and practical education literature)
- Education Full Text(Scholarly education literature)
- Social Sciences Citation Index (Citation tracking)
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Library databases are different than Web search engines.
- The information cycle determines where and when certain types of information are published.
- Most topics are interdisciplinary, so don’t limit your search to one field or subject database.
- Be aware that research is a cyclical, recursive process.