how to format a literature review

how to format a literature review

How to Format a Literature Review

1. Introduction

As mentioned previously, it is a well-established fact that the diagnostic delay creeping in between existence of symptoms and its medical evaluation has a potential implication in poor health results and also poses an impediment to the treatment of the disease. Literature review concerning the diagnostic delay is available but its scope is pretty narrow. It may be because the concept of diagnostic delay is too broad and multidimensional, which makes its uniform evaluation and comparison difficult and sometimes impossible. Both healthcare activists and academicians have been attempting to put in their best to improve the quality of healthcare of the society by taking steps to reduce this diagnostic delay of varied diseases and mortalities of patients in several ways and at various levels of healthcare. But no attempts have been made in order to identify these steps to combat diagnostic delay at a solid platform of evidence. Systematic analysis and comparison of experiences of various healthcare systems of different countries/regions in curing a specific chronic disease/disorder for identifying the particular miss-steps down the line from onset of symptoms to the management of diagnosis and treatment is also a crucial way to learn from the experience of others for preventing similar things to happen in the future. All these are different aspects of a single giant issue and hence there is a need for a particular tool for evaluation and comparison to find out the magnitude and features of diagnostic delay in all these cases. Last but not least, a comparison of lifestyle and sociocultural factors associated with a particular chronic disease between different population groups. This also has various implications in changing the pattern and compliance of treatment of the disease at different places, though the impact of this is not today’s matter and perhaps it’s a research of the past 3 decades. A uniform evaluation and comparison of all these scenarios is quite impossible without a detailed study on each of the issue and systematic analysis of all these studies. This is indeed a lot of work but there is a severe scarcity of resources to accomplish all these. All this forms a huge interest for research. On an optimistic note, it gives a direction for prevention of the eventuality of diagnostic delay in causing a specific chronic disease in future generations.

2. Organizing the Literature Review

Divide the literature into categories to make it easier to manage. You want your review to be logical and easy to follow. You can accomplish this by organizing the content in a way that is most useful to you. This could be by themes, chronological (by publication date), sub-topics, etc. Choose the organizational method that is most relevant to your work. Other comprehensive guides (e.g. Informing Science) suggest an early section to describe the lit review process followed by thematic organization that maps to the body structure. Note that while it may be useful to read additional literature on academic literature reviews, the information contained in this guide is still very applicable to informatics research projects. Annotate the literature you have found. This will be an informal process whereby you note down things that seem important. These notes will help you establish a framework for your review; they will also help you remember what you read and where you read it. This can be written on the printed article (using your own words), or using a digital format if you don’t want to waste paper. Remember to reference all material that you paraphrase.

3. Formatting the Literature Review

An effective way to organize your review is to use sub-headers. This can be particularly helpful if you have a large topic. The sub-headers constitute mini-titles for sections of the review. This will enhance the review’s organization and give scope for the writer to stay on track. This will benefit both the writer and reader. The review will be easily navigated and avoid straying off the topic. It can also highlight any repetition in the review, showing where a point has been made more than once, in separate sections. When using sub-headers, it is useful to plan where each will be placed within the review and decide what points each section will cover. This will ensure one does not over, or under develop a section of the review and will maintain a steady progression.

When formatting the literature review, it is necessary to produce a working statement. Often, this statement will be the basis for the rest of the review. The working statement is a rough idea of the structure of your review. Outlining key points that you want to make in order to achieve your purpose in writing the review. For example, a working statement for the previous review might be “This review will discuss the positivist approach to victim precipitation and its use in criminological research. It will analyze work by Mawby and Conklin and Ackerley and will seek to evaluate its importance in contemporary victimology”. This statement will guide your work allowing you to ensure focus upon the chosen point. It also presents a clear indication as to the aims of the review and what the reader can expect to learn.

4. Citations and References

The conclusion then compares the potential of what your study may achieve and if it is sufficient, expected or unexpected, and whether the reasoning is significant. Any evidence you have found to support something should be followed with the implications of the evidence, a case of why a result has happened, and what the expected outcome will be. Consider how you can use the evidence and speculate the future of it and ideas which may stem from it.

In the introduction, explain the need for your topic of study, which is usually accompanied with a hypothesis. The body is used to support your explanation of the complications which are present with the present knowledge. This is where your citations and references will be invaluable. You should group research articles and other information by which they have a common thread, e.g. literature reviews with your own to compare how your ideas are similar or different. Next, you would identify the methodology or course of action of each article and how their results came about, looking at whether the outcome was expected or unexpected and whether the writers considered the significance or reasons as to why it happened. This should be followed by the comparative analysis of your own ideas and those from the literature.

Citations and references are the two parts of a literature review. You should include all the various studies, articles, and books which have been used as a source for your hypothesis. A literature review generally has three sections, although they will not be written as separate sections. The introduction, the body, and the conclusion. What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

5. Finalizing the Literature Review

Finally, you can also use this tool to elaborate your findings. It may be necessary for you to provide a detailed analysis of the evidence you are presenting in some subjects, or a more detailed explanation. For example, after discussing the literature on your topic, you should know what a good experiment looks like, so you should be able to provide an example or model of an experiment that would be a good test of your hypothesis. This is where you can start to demonstrate your critical thinking and analytical abilities. In some literature reviews, it may be appropriate to finish with a brief summary or an ending paragraph. You can arrange your findings under discussion points and subheadings. That way you are able to identify areas of controversy or agreement within your topic and also demonstrate a clear need for further research.

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