The chronological way is suitable when trends change over time. The second method is good when stance of each publication is different. For example, if approaches develop from radical to conservative, arranging by publication show their progress.
When the trend is in focus, information may be arranged by this feature uniting time periods or regions. Thematic principle helps to form parts of the body by their meaning. Stages of development Structurizing gives a chance to organize literature analysis in form. There are stages which are used to help in organizing the work according to its internal dynamics. Formulate the problem and say on what field of science it is being examined. Organize literature search which will help to find publications relevant to your theme from sources you can trust.
Evaluate the data choosing which literature is more precious for your subject. Analyse and interpret the findings of the chosen publications and evaluate how they are suitable for your work. Accuracy of information If you do not know something or it is not clear enough for you, clarify your doubts as soon as possible.
You may ask your professor to give answers to your questions. He always knows how to do a literature review and may give a useful piece of advice.
Questions may concern any peculiarities of the work — from types of publications, such as articles from journals, books or websites, to a number of subheadings and other formal, at first glance, information. Besides, you can find a model for your work.
There are a lot of similar literature analysis which may become an example for you. Take one of them as a basis but do it formally in order to avoid plagiarism. It will do your work easier if you narrow down the scope of possible themes in your review. 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? Find models 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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?
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.
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. Evaluate your references for currency and coverage: Although you can always find more articles on your topic, you have to decide at what point you are finished with collecting new resources so that you can focus on writing up your findings.
However, before you begin writing, you must evaluate your reference list to ensure that it is up to date and has reported the most current work. Typically a review will cover the last five years, but should also refer to any landmark studies prior to this time if they have significance in shaping the direction of the field. If you include studies prior to the past five years that are not landmark studies, you should defend why you have chosen these rather than more current ones.
Step 5: Summarize the literature in table or concept map format Galvan recommends building tables as a key way to help you overview, organize, and summarize your findings, and suggests that including one or more of the tables that you create may be helpful in your literature review. If you do include tables as part of your review each must be accompanied by an analysis that summarizes, interprets and synthesizes the literature that you have charted in the table.
The advantage of using Excel is that it enables you to sort your findings according to a variety of factors e. Research methods Summary of research results Step 6: Synthesize the literature prior to writing your review Using the notes that you have taken and summary tables, develop an outline of your final review. The following are the key steps as outlined by Galvan Consider your purpose and voice before beginning to write.
In the case of this Educ introductory literature review, your initial purpose is to provide an overview of the topic that is of interest to you, demonstrating your understanding of key works and concepts within your chosen area of focus.
You are also developing skills in reviewing and writing, to provide a foundation on which you will build in subsequent courses within your M. Consider how you reassemble your notes: plan how you will organize your findings into a unique analysis of the picture that you have captured in your notes. Important: A literature review is not series of annotations like an annotated bibliography. Galvan captures the difference between an annotated bibliography and a literature review very well: " In the case of a literature review, you are really creating a new forest, which you will build by using the trees you found in the literature you read.
You may find the program Inspiration useful in mapping out your argument and once you have created this in a concept map form, Inspiration enables you to convert this to a text outline merely by clicking on the "outline" button. This can then be exported into a Microsoft Word document.
Could relationships found in previous research be spurious, or vary depending on another control variable? Recall from discussions of causality in social science that we try to do three things: show a correlation between two variables, establish a time ordering, and control for variables suspected of explaining away observed correlations. You may want to think about how theories you are familiar with would point you to control for certain variables gender, social class, ethnicity, education.
What's new in your research? As you read through the literature and think about the questions above, you will start to notice differences between what you intended to do and what has been done. Some of those differences may actually lead you to change your plans. But other differences are what make your research unique or different. They may be small, such as doing your research on a local community instead of a regional one. Or you may be operationalizing some of your variables differently.
But small or large, these variations make additions to the literature. The most challenging part will be when you try to theorize what difference it makes. Actually Writing the Literature Review You now have a lot of ideas about what is known on your topic and how your particular research fits in.
What's next? There is no set standard for writing up your literature review. Everyone has their own way of getting from point to point. So what follows is one suggested outline. It assumes that you've thought about all seven questions above. See how it works and think about how to make transitions between sections. You will need to find what's most comfortable for you. Description of the dependent variable.
What is the incidence of it and what has been the major concern by sociologists in studying it. Why are you interested in studying it? Summary of research done using one theory. This could also be a summary of research finding that X is related to Y. Be sure to group articles together by writing points. If several articles have found that X affects Y, just make the substantive point once and cite all articles.
Critiques of that theory, or set of relationships, with a discussion of research that differs.
First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish. What sources have they cited to support their conclusions?
When you write your review, you should address these relationships and different categories and discuss relevant studies using this as a framework. Formulate the problem and say on what field of science it is being examined. Theoretical literature review essentially involves two steps: Surveying and critically reading the existing literature: this step is commonly referred to as experimental literature review. However, you may pick any scholarly topic. You will be looking for unanswered questions, or gaps in the knowledge.
Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?
However, before you begin writing, you must evaluate your reference list to ensure that it is up to date and has reported the most current work.
So you might want to check out the books used in related classes in sociology. Structure and Writing Style I. For each publication, ask yourself: What question or problem is the author addressing? Discussing the controversial aspects helps to identify the main gaps that need to be worked upon.
For example: Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources Theoretical A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework.
Do not be afraid to mention in the review works with negative results — they also have value for scientific progress. If you do include tables as part of your review each must be accompanied by an analysis that summarizes, interprets and synthesizes the literature that you have charted in the table. Step 3: Identify the literature that you will review: Familiarize yourself with online databases see UMD library resource links below for help with this , identifying relevant databases in your field of study.