Introduction to literature review
A literature review is a written document that simply summarizes what does a group of related studies in a specific field/ particular topic research talk about. Written Literature review document not just summarizes related research studies. But also, synthesis it to highlight specific ideas and gaps for a particular topic of research. You can define a literature review document as a scholarly study that summarizes and synthesizes collected sources and studies in a particular topic of research area. The literature review can be a stand-alone literature review document or it can be a part of a research paper or a dissertation document.
For a written literature review document, the size of a written literature review document should be between 2000-3000 words. But the size of a written literature review depends on many factors which are the area study of a written literature review document.
Also, the goal of a written literature review and the type of a written literature review are factors that affected on the size of literature review. Some experts put a general rule about the length of a written literature review document. This rule indicates that the length of your written literature review document must be appropriate with how long is your written document. If your document is about 15 pages long, then it is enough to write a literature review with 2-3 pages long.
You can follow this general rule if there are not specific instructions about the length of literature review document. Other experts say that if you write a PhD thesis document then your written literature review long is about 8000-10000 words. So, the length of written literature review document different from one literature review document to another depending on many factors. You should specify the type and filed of topic study of your literature review document to determine how long should it be. It a good way to consult your instructor or an expert person before writing your own literature review document.
You write a literature review document to pass many points which are:
- Identify basic ideas for reviewing sources on a particular topic of a research area
- Summary all collected sources researches on a particular topic and analyze it
- Writing a literature review highlights the significant points in a field of research study
- Highlighting the existing gaps and weakness points on a particular topic of research study
- Making literature reviews documents will keep you up to date about newly studies and researches about a particular topic of your research
- Make a brainstorming session to select your interested topic of your interested study research.
- Search for resources studies, researches sources and literature reviews that related to your topic of study research.
- Read all gathering researches sources and right important notes you may find in the selected studies on your topic of research.
- Summarize the collected sources studies and synthesize them
- Include also sources studies which contrary to your study on your topic of research
- Evaluate all collected sources studies and literature reviews and its results.
- Start to write your literature review and write a summary about what you find in others literature reviews and studies.
- Consult your instructor or expert to review your writing paper and to get a useful feedback.
It is important to know what type of literature review you will write, then decide the age of resources you need in your document. The age of literature review resources different according to the area of study and the research topic itself. If your literature study is about arts study, humanities study, literature and history studies. Then use that researches resources that published in the past ten years.
In the other side, if your literature study is about fields of medical, healthcare, engineering and technologies. Then you need to use researches resources and studies resources that published in the last two or three years. That’s because the fields of engineering, medical and other need recent developing studies and resources.
In this paragraph, you will deal with how many resources you have to include in your literature review document. The number of resources needed for a written literature review document depends on many factors such as the research topic itself. Also, it depends on the field of research and other factors. To select the number of resources you have two cases of literature review document:
- Case 1: if the written literature review is a stand-alone document
Here in this case, the minimum number of sources = three times the number of body pages. The body pages here not include title page, references, appendices and abstract.
For example, if your written literature review document has 15 pages of body content, then the minimum number of sources needed = 3*15 which equals 45 sources.
- Case 2: if the literature review is a part of research paper document
In this case, if your literature review is a part of academic/ research paper, dissertation or thesis documents. The minimum number of sources needed = the number of pages of body content (exclude title page, abstract, references and appendices).
For example, if your written literature review document has 15 pages of body content which excludes title page, abstract, references and appendices. Then the minimum number of sources needed equal 15 sources for your written literature review document.
The structure of a written literature review document should contain three major parts which are introduction, body and conclusion.
Introduction is the first section in literature review document. In introduction part of a written literature review document, you write an overview about your literature. And explain your point of view and your reasons to choose your topic of research and give a quick idea about this research topic. In addition to, in introduction part you can explain what theme to use or which organizational pattern you will use.
Write in the body part of your literature review document a discussion about sources you will view and explain how to organize them. There are many ways to organize the body part in a written literature review such as chronological, thematically or methodology.
- Chronological: in chronological method you review all sources of your research according to when it appeared/ published. That means you discussing these sources in their order of appearance.
- Thematically: in thematically method, you review your sources of research according to what themes these sources talk about. In other word, you are discussing these sources in the topics or themes that the sources cover.
- Methodologically: in methodologically method, you review your sources according to their methods depending in these sources. That’s mean you are discussing your sources of research according to what method the source depends to explain the topic.
Finally, conclude what you reviewed in the body part of your written literature review document and rewrite the main points of your reviewing research topic. Identify if there are any gaps in the current views of knowledge. You can also explain areas of future study in the same field of search about your particular research topic.
With greetings: Al - Manara Consulting to help researchers and graduate students