What are the sources of literature review - المنارة للاستشارات

What are the sources of literature review

What are the sources of literature review
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 What is a literature review? 

A literature review is a document that written for scholarly reviewing some literatures and publication researches about a specific topic. The concept of literature review is to collect relevant researches and publications from good sources to review and analyze these studies which are about a specific topic.

The literature review can be a stand-alone literature review or the literature review can be a part of research paper document. As a stand-alone literature review the literature is written to summarize and evaluate the current knowledge of a specific topic. But the literature review which is a part of research paper document is written to determine the gaps in the current knowledge that the research paper document written to address

 How many sources should a literature review has? 

The required number of sources needed for a literature review depends if the literature review is a stand-alone or a part of research paper.

First: if a literature review is a part of research paper document:

Min number of sources needed = the number of pages in the literature review body part (where the body does not contain title page, abstract, appendices and references)

For example, a literature review with 5 page of body content requires 5 sources in minimum.

Second: if a literature review is a stand-alone literature review:

Min number of sources needed = three times of the number of pages of body part (where the body does not contain title page, abstract, appendices and references)

For example, a literature review with 5 page of body content requires 3*5 = 15 sources in minimum.

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 Types of sources for literature review 

When you are work on reviewing a literature, you have to include major studies and researches that support a specific topic. The included studies and researches are called sources where these sources can be primary sources, secondary sources or tertiary sources. There are three types of literature review sources which are:

First type of literature review sources/ Primary sources: in primary sources of literature review includes the original studies and researches. Where these original studies based on direct observation, experimental methods, interviews and the use of statistical records. Examples of primary sources are diaries, speeches, court records, official reports, autobiographies, photographs and drawings. Which all of the primary sources contain original data of research.

Primary sources usually contain a first-hand information that closer to the field of study.

Second type of literature review sources/ Secondary sources: the secondary sources usually written about the primary sources and provide a second-hand information about the field of study. In other word, secondary sources contain interpretations and evaluations that derived from primary sources. As examples of secondary source biographies and critical studies about author’s work also, secondary sources contain research summaries in textbooks and magazines.  

Third type of literature review sources/ Tertiary sources: the tertiary sources include textbooks, encyclopedias, handbooks, newspapers. Tertiary sources consist of primary and secondary sources which aims to provide an overview of key research outcomes.

 Differentiation between literature review sources 

In this paragraph, you will read more details and examples about each type of literature review sources:

  Primary source type of literature review Secondary source type of literature review Tertiary source type of literature review
General examples of sources

Original researchDiariesSpeeches and interviewsLetters 

and emails

critiques of playsnewspapersjournal articles textbooks and websites Manuals and guide booksFactbookstextbooks bibliography of critical works about an author
Art sources examples Original artwork            Article critiquing the piece of art  
Theater sources examples  Video of a performance   Biography of a playwright  
Education sources examples

Journal article reporting

on quantitative study 

of after school programs        

Article in Teacher Magazine about after school programs            Handbook of afterschool programming ERIC database
Literature sources examples Poem Article on a particular genre of poetry  

 How many sources are there for academic research? 

Types of sources are different when you are working on written academic research document and these types are:

  • First academic sources type/ Scholarly publication: which directs to the original sources and studies. Scholarly publications are written by and for experts in a specific field and written with scholarly or technical language. Journals are example of scholarly publication academic sources.
  • Second academic sources type/ Popular sources: the popular sources are written for people in a society so the popular sources written by journalists or professional writers. Popular sources often written in a simple language that enables popular people to understand it. News and magazines are examples of popular sources. Here the writers of popular sources should not have an experience of what they write and these sources may include analysis of an issue.
  • Third academic sources type/ Professional sources: professional sources are written by participators in a specific field (nursing, sport, health, teaching) and also written by using language and jargons of the written filed. For example, a nurse can write a source by using nursing jargons and nursing language.

 The second group types of academic sources 

  • Fourth academic sources type/ Books: the academic books/ chapter of book should be written and edited by experts and in academic language. When you need to make an investigation about a specific topic, books are good sources for your investigation.
  • Fifth academic sources type/ Conference proceedings: the conference proceedings are a collection of documents, papers, researches and information which prepared for a conference.
  • Sixth academic sources type/ Government documents: the government document sources are established by the government printing office. Some of governmental departments publish reports, white papers, statistics and other more documents. Some of governmental documents are published for public.
  • Seventh academic sources type/ Thesis and dissertations: the final type of academic sources is thesis and dissertations which written by students in postgraduate studies. Thesis and dissertations documents are written by guidance of academic committee.

 Different ways to organize sources in a literature review 

  • First different type: Chronological is the first type to organize a literature review written document. So, you can review your source in a written literature review according to when the sources published. Use the chronological type when the written literature review follows a chronological method.
  • Second different type: the second different type of organizing source is by publication type. By publication type of organizing is the best when the sources in written literature review explain a clearest trend. In this type the sources organizing by its publication chronological.
  • Third different type: the third type to organize sources for a written literature review is by trend. Organizing sources in a literature review by trend type using to examine sources under another trend.
  • Fourth different type: thematic type is the fourth type to organize sources in a written literature review. Thematic type using to organize written literature review according to specific topic or issue rather than organizing them by time.
  • Fifth different type: the fifth and final type of organizing sources in written literature review is Methodological type. Methodological type is of organizing written literatures according to the methods that the writer uses it to write the sources of a literature review.

It will be easiest for you when decide to what type of organization you will use to order sources in a literature review. For example, in thematic type you can divide your review into sections where each section reviews one theme. The job is not just writing a literature review and find sources but you need to organize your source in a literature. 

 Video: Sources of Literature Review


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