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Economics Student. A literature review is an integrated analysis of scholarly sources. You evaluate the existing literature on a similar topic as yours to present an understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. Your literature review should include all concepts, models, and frameworks associated with the topic under investigation. All the key theories about the topic should also be a part of your literature review. To write a captivating literature review, you should pay attention to two points: recency and relevancy of the sources.
To assess the relevancy of the scholarly source, you will have to evaluate its research aims and research question, the methods of research employed the author employed, and the results' reliability. Once you know your chosen source's relevancy, make sure that it is not older than a few years. We recommend not to base your research on studies that were completed more than ten years ago. Following this recommendation will help you eliminate obsolete models and frameworks and draft a literature review based on the latest theories and concepts.
To help you write a winning literature review, we have published several undergraduate and postgraduate level literature review examples on our website. You will notice that each of our literature review samples introduces the topic by providing background information before analyzing the sources. Pay attention to your writing style. Along with descriptive writing, you should be critical.
You should be able to demonstrate your understanding by comparing and analysing one study with another. Here is a literature review outline example on the subject of the Ebola virus to help you get it right:. Hopefully, this sample outline will help you to structure your own paper. Whether you are writing a literature review within the framework of a large research project e. This is probably the only matter you may approach differently depending on whether your literature review comes within a research paper or a separate assignment altogether.
If you are creating a literature review as a part of another work, you need to search for literature related to your main research questions and problem. Respectively, if you are writing it as a stand-alone task, you will have to pick a relevant topic and central question upon which you will be collecting the literature. Earlier in this guide we suggested some engaging topics to guide your search. When you have a clearly defined topic, it is time to start collecting literature for your review.
We recommend starting by compiling a list of relevant keywords related to your central question—to make the entire research process much simpler and help you find relevant publications faster. When you have a list of keywords, use them to search for valid and relevant sources. At this point, be sure to use only trusted sources, such as ones from university libraries, online scientific databases, etc. Once you have found some sources, be sure to define whether or not they are actually relevant to your topic and research question.
To save you time, you can read abstracts to get general ideas of what the papers are about, instead of the whole thing. Throughout your research, you will likely find plenty of relevant literature to include in your literature review. At this point, many students make the mistake of trying to fit all of their collected sources into their reviews.
To evaluate which sources are worth including in your review, keep in mind the following criteria:. And be sure to get your citations in place early on. If you cite the selected sources at the initial stage, you will find it easier to create your annotated bibliography later on. Before you can move on to outlining and writing your literature review, the final step is determining the relationships between the studies that already exist. Identifying the relationships will help you organize the existing knowledge, build a solid literature outline, and if necessary indicate your own research contribution to a specific field.
Here are a few examples: Common trends may include a focus on specific groups of people across different studies. There may be increased interest among most researchers in certain aspects of the topic in terms of key themes. Contradictions may include some disagreement concerning the theories and outcomes of a study. And finally, gaps most often refer to a lack of research on certain aspects of a topic.
Although students tend to neglect this stage, outlining is one of the most important steps in writing every academic paper. Besides, having a rough idea about what you are going to write about in the paper will help you get it right faster and easier. Earlier in this guide, we already discussed the basic structure of a literature review and gave you an example of a good outline. Having found and created all of your sources, notes, citations, and a detailed outline, you can finally get to the writing part of the process.
Most students make a common mistake and skip the final stage of the process, which includes proofreading and editing. We recommend taking enough time for these steps to ensure that your work will be worth the highest score. Do not underestimate the importance of proofreading and editing, and allocate enough time for these steps. These steps will help you create a top-notch literature review with ease!
Want to get more advice on how to handle this body of work? Here are the top 3 tips you need to keep in mind when writing a literature review:. You can find two well-written literature reviews by the EssayPro writing team below. They will help you understand what the final product of a literature review should ideally look like.
The first literature review compares monolingual and bilingual language acquisition skills and uses various sources to prove its point:. Both reviews will help you sharpen your skills and provide good guidelines for writing high-quality papers. No worries because our online essay writing service has got you covered! By choosing EssayPro, you will acquire a reliable friend who can help you handle any kind of literature review or other academic assignments of any level and topic.
All you need to do to get help from the best academic writers now and boost your grades is to place an order in a few quick clicks and we will satisfy your write my essay request. Click here to see how our academic service helps college students all around the world with various types of assignments! We have tested thousands of candidates to present you with the best writers available.
Click here to meet them! Learn the simple process of getting yourself a well-written custom essay! Visit EssayPro for a step-by-step guide! Our Team How to Order. Log In Sign Up. Need Help With Literature Review? Count on Pro to get it done! We only need your paper requirements to save your precious time and nerves from writing it on your own! Introduction Introduce the general topic. Provide background information on the Ebola virus: genome, pathogenesis, transmission, epidemiology, treatment, etc.
Shape the main research question: What is the potential role of arthropods mechanical or biological vectors in the distribution of the Ebola virus? Methodology: For example, the information was searched through X databases to find relevant research articles about the Ebola virus and arthropods' role in its spreading.
The data was extracted using a standardized form. Expected outcomes Overall trends in the literature on this topic: While the natural reservoir of the virus is still not known with certainty, many researchers believe that arthropods and fruit bats, in particular pay a significant role in the distribution of the virus.
Body Subject 1: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
Subject 2: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
Subject 3: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions. Conclusion Indicate the relationships between the pieces of literature discussed. Emphasize key themes, common patterns, and trends. State which studies seem to be the most influential.
Emphasize the major contradictions and points of disagreement. Define the gaps still to be covered if any. If applicable: define how your own study will contribute to further disclosure of the topic.
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When writing a research paper on a specific topic, you will often need to include an overview of any prior research that has been conducted on that topic. For example, if your research paper is describing an experiment on fear conditioning, then you will probably need to provide an overview of prior research on fear conditioning.
That overview is typically known as a literature review. Please note that a full-length literature review article may be suitable for fulfilling the requirements for the Psychology B. Degree Research Paper. For further details, please check with your faculty advisor.
Literature reviews come in many forms. They can be part of a research paper, for example as part of the Introduction section. They can be one chapter of a doctoral dissertation. For instance, some journals such as Annual Review of Psychology , Psychological Bulletin , and others typically publish full-length review articles.
Degree Research Paper requirement. Alternatively, you may be expected to include a literature review as part of a larger research paper such as part of an Honors Thesis. Literature reviews can be written using a variety of different styles. These may differ in the way prior research is reviewed as well as the way in which the literature review is organized. Examples of stylistic variations in literature reviews include:.
Overall, all literature reviews, whether they are written as a part of a larger work or as separate articles unto themselves, have a common feature: they do not present new research; rather, they provide an overview of prior research on a specific topic.
When writing a literature review, it can be helpful to rely on the following steps. Please note that these procedures are not necessarily only for writing a literature review that becomes part of a larger article; they can also be used for writing a full-length article that is itself a literature review although such reviews are typically more detailed and exhaustive; for more information please refer to the Further Resources section of this page.
The topic, which is commonly a research question or problem of some kind, needs to be identified and defined as clearly as possible. You need to have an idea of what you will be reviewing in order to effectively search for references and to write a coherent summary of the research on it. At this stage it can be helpful to write down a description of the research question, area, or topic that you will be reviewing, as well as to identify any keywords that you will be using to search for relevant research.
Use a range of keywords to search databases such as PsycINFO and any others that may contain relevant articles. You should focus on peer-reviewed, scholarly articles. Read through titles and abstracts, select and obtain articles that is, download, copy, or print them out , and save your searches as needed. For more information about this step, please see the Using Databases and Finding Scholarly References section of this website.
Absorb as much information as you can. Read through the articles and books that you have found, and as you do, take notes. The notes should include anything that will be helpful in advancing your own thinking about the topic and in helping you write the literature review such as key points, ideas, or even page numbers that index key information.
Some references may turn out to be more helpful than others; you may notice patterns or striking contrasts between different sources ; and some sources may refer to yet other sources of potential interest. This is often the most time-consuming part of the review process. However, it is also where you get to learn about the topic in great detail.
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. 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. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers. 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. If your assignment is not very specific, seek clarification from your instructor:. 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.
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. Keep in mind that UNC Libraries have research guides and to databases relevant to many fields of study. 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.
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.
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. 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:. Now what is the most effective way of presenting the information? What are the most important topics, subtopics, etc. And in what order should you present them? Develop an organization for your review at both a global and local level:. The following provides a brief description of the content of each:.
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:.
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 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.
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.