purpose of literature review

purpose of literature review

The Importance of Literature Review in Research

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1. Introduction

The literature review is for identifying the gap is to find the gap from the existing study by reading the literature, previous study and scientific paper. Step to identify the gap is: Compare the critical, important and the main points from the existing study in literature. Understand the method used in the previous study and try to find out the weaknesses. Try to find out the differences or contradiction of the result from the previous study analyzed. After the gap had been identified, the problem statements for the study can be formulated. The scope of the object studied can also be defined. The problem statement is important because it could be the reference for doing further research. The clearer the problem statement, the more focus and less deviation from the research. The time used to collect data or information from literature review is varying depends to case. But in general, 2-6 months allocated to perform more detail literature review. Step 1 until 3 could be conducted in spare time during the study and the detail literature review would be the main activity in the early research period, to ensure the relevancy of the study and to get the comprehensive understanding of the object researched. Completed detail literature review is expected can save time in the next research process.

2. Purpose of Literature Review

The primary purpose of literature review is to present the reader, most scholars-researchers, a coherent framework of the state of the art in a particular field. This would enable the reader to be brought up to date regarding the state of research in the given field and familiarize him with cultural and intellectual debates in the given area of study. It also identifies the gap that the research is intended to fill. This aspect is highlighted by the authors in the first of the above quotes. Literature review is aimed at identifying what is known in the field and what has been done in the area of research, considering the methodology that has been used, the quality of the findings of past researchers, and the areas that required further exploration. This brings us to the third purpose, which is to justify the research, to ensure that it is original and has not been done before, or if it is an extension of previous work, that it is being done in an area of past studies with poor research quality. This is necessary as without a definite aim the research could be merely an exploration of ideas with no significance. This would be most harmful to the scholar who is attempting to gain a higher academic qualification. Last but not least, the literature review should prepare the reader for the research that is going to take place. The findings of the past research and the areas that necessitated further exploration would lead to formulation of questions about what needs to be answered and a hypothesis regarding what will be the likely outcome of the research. This would ensure that the reader would move straight to understanding the methodology of the present research.

Literature review is an important element of a piece of research. It helps in knowledge development, problem identification, and methodology design. It also helps in establishing the need for the research and developing a framework for the research. According to Cooper (1988), “A literature review usefully sets the scene for empirical work and there can be no doubt but that it has developed in its function as a prelude to primary research.” In more recent years, a number of authors have argued that the literature review should play a key role in the research process and not just be a prelude to the reporting of the methods and results.

3. Benefits of Conducting Literature Review

Sufficiently extensive knowledge of the existing work in a particular field is a key prerequisite for research. It helps in identifying the state of the art, which is critical in determining the existing research issues, the various methods which have been used to address the issues, and the degree of success in addressing them. A well-done literature review will also provide a critical comparison of the methodologies used by previous works, their strengths and weaknesses, and what method is suitable under what conditions. This is crucial in identifying a methodology for a new research project as it will provide evidence that a particular method is successful under specific conditions and also show that it is not worth attempting a method which is unsuitable under given conditions. This will serve to reduce wastage of time and effort on an unfruitful approach. It enables learning from the findings and the experience of others and thereby avoiding reinventing the wheel. This is particularly critical in rapidly changing technological fields. For example, an approach which was a solution to a problem a few years ago may be outdated or replaced by a better approach. Knowing the difference between old and new approaches is essential in providing a solution which best serves the current needs.

4. Key Steps in Conducting Literature Review

4. Write the review This may seem like a basic point, but it is very important. Each step of the review process mentioned above should be completed in writing. This will ensure that as the review progresses, it will remain focused. Writing is also a very useful outcome from the evaluation step. It is much easier to evaluate material if you have to write about it and explain why it is relevant to your review. After completing the review, it is useful to go back and check it to ensure that you have maintained a clear focus throughout.

3. Evaluate the material Once you have found the material it is time to evaluate it. Deciding what to include and what to exclude is an extremely important part of the literature review process. It can also be one of the most time-consuming stages. The following set of questions can be used to help the evaluation of source material: – Relevance: What is the relevance of the piece to your review? – Level: Is the material of an appropriate level? For example, is it too advanced or too basic? – Quality: Is the piece well-written and well-researched? – Credibility: Is the piece from a relevant, credible source? – Worth: Is the piece worth spending time on? Will it add something to your review? By regularly asking yourself these questions, you should find that it becomes much easier to decide what the most relevant and useful material is.

2. Find the material The next step involves finding the material. A good literature review will involve the use of a wide range of source material. A search should be conducted across a number of different databases, internet sources and other materials. It may also be a good idea to contact experts, or researchers in the area. Discussing the area of your review with other colleagues can be particularly useful in helping to define what source material is the most relevant. Once you have decided what material you want to use, it is a good idea to set this out in some form of written plan. This ensures that you maintain a clear focus throughout the review.

1. Define your subject and the scope of the review The first stage in conducting a review is to define the research problem or issue, and the scope of the review. This is an important first step because it helps the researcher to know exactly what he/she is looking for. It is not unusual to find that researchers are unsure as to what their research question or issue actually is, or they may know what they want to study, but be unclear as to the best way to try and find out more about the phenomenon. By setting out the research question or issue the researcher will then know what he/she is trying to find an answer for. Being clear on the research question or issue will also help the researcher to be more specific in the search terms used, and to diminish the likelihood of becoming side-tracked during the search. Once the research question or issue has been clarified the next step is to define the scope of the review. This involves setting parameters around the review. For example it is important to decide whether the review will seek to include all relevant literature, whether the review is to be country/region-specific, or whether the review will focus on a specific time period.

There are a number of steps involved in conducting a literature review. The following guidelines will help you to understand what a literature review is, and the stages involved in conducting a review.

5. Conclusion

A review of literature is an essential part of academic research. One needs to know what already has been published about the topic, thus it is vital to include only the relevant material. The quality and relevance of the sources can make a big difference in the review. Literature review is used to help the researcher link concepts from other sources to his/her research, it will highlight knowledge gaps and show that the researcher is informed in the particular topic. Information that has been generically referenced or cutting and pasting of large chunks of information will not be beneficial. The aim for a researcher is to gather information from a large variety of sources and to become more informed on the topic to the point where reading about the topic no longer adds any new information. This is when the researcher can then begin to write the review in their own words and find a way to link this new information to their research, providing an analysis in the review. This is a very important part of the literature review, as it explores that you have collected information, read and evaluated it and then provided an analysis, rather than just summarizing the information. This is commonly found as the hardest part of the literature review. When the analysis is directly linked to the research it can show that the reader has critical awareness and is able to think and write on higher levels. This would be considered as the highest quality level of literature review and is the type that you will want to aim for. The end result of the literature review should be that your reader is convinced that your research is important and relevant. They should be aware that your research is informed and that you are a competent researcher in this particular topic.

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