sample literature reviews

sample literature reviews

Exploring the Impact of Literature Reviews in Research

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1. Introduction to Literature Reviews

The literature review is a critical piece in the research process because it helps a researcher determine what is already known about the study topic, what gaps exist in this line of research, how the chosen research topic fits within the broader area of study, and how the current study will build on the available knowledge. The process of developing a literature review requires a clear understanding of both terminology and analysis frameworks. Relevance, critical appraisal, and sound proof from the literature that provide a logical coherence are, in fact, the foundation of high-quality literature reviews that form the cornerstone of high-quality research, eradication of such as the “availability bias” that is frequently witnessed and research that offers nothing more than long-winded post hoc abstract rationales.

Literature reviews have a significant role in research, and they are conducted in many fields of study, including in the field of social work. A literature review, as defined by Aveyard, is the “assembly of evidence and ideas in a new way which creates conclusions.” According to Polit and Beck, the terms review of the literature, literature review, and review article commonly refer to a type of research article that compiles available evidence. The purpose of a literature review is to gather knowledge, information, and evidence already documented in a publication and to provide a perspective of the subject in question. Although a literature review is not primary research, it still provides valuable analysis of the source material. Consequently, writing a literature review, though often seen as a routine part of the research, is, in many ways, a creative activity.

2. The Importance of Literature Reviews in Research

A literature review is generally described as a text written by a researcher to document the work conducted by other researchers on a specific topic or set of topics. This text is most often presented as an integral part of a specific piece of research and is generally considered quite important for many reasons. What are these reasons? First, the literature review assists researchers in identifying knowledge or lacunae in the existing research on a topic (i.e. what is or is not known). The LR might also contribute to the generation of new knowledge as a result of providing clarity to the investigation as a whole. Because LRs help differentiate among relevant and irrelevant issues regarding a specific research question, they may importantly narrow the investigation focus. Furthermore, literature reviews can form one of the stronger arguments for guiding both the approach and the subsequent rationale for future research. Given the previous supporting argument, for instance, the literature review positions new research within the context of the larger body of research that has been conducted on a particular topic. Furthermore, for these and other reasons, the literature review may itself be a useful scholarly product that is beneficial for students, academics, business professionals, and other consumers of research.

A literature review (LR) has several purposes within the context of conducting research. This chapter will discuss some of the most important ways literature reviews contribute to research. Included in the text will be some practical advice on how LRs might be successfully developed. The next section provides a working definition of what we mean by the term ‘literature review’. Afterward, the chapter structure will proceed from matters of epistemology (evidence) to topics of methodology. In other words, we will first look at the functions and value of LR regarding what we know and the way research information is organized. Next, the chapter will offer insights into the process of conducting a literature review and understanding its purposes.

3. Methods and Strategies for Conducting a Literature Review

Put simply, the literature review is the process of reviewing, critiquing, evaluating, and reporting the results of scientific researches and studies published on a chosen research problem. The purpose of the literature review is to give a clear picture for the researchers about the problem under investigation. First of all, the uncertainties that might be seen in the research problem will be removed through the literature review. Also, the entirely wrestling points of the research will be identified and sufficient answers will be brought to the undisclosed questions. The growing point of research and sophisticated information about the selected research problem will be established after investigation of the valued sources. This assistance will concentrate on producing the necessary research components or data for the work practices that are highly reputable tools used in achieving meaningful conclusions by the researcher.

As with any research project, one of the major tasks in preparing a paper is the information gathering process. Studies validating the worth of the paper articulate this part according to a well-defined plan or directive. This is known as the literature review process. The dissertation must be completed with a thorough literature review at a particular research problem. Since “you cannot prepare a meal without having a recipe,” you cannot start a research project without copying the same steps taken by others. As a result, researching and developing a literature review is the first thing that must be done in a research project. The literature review helps the author to figure out where the research problem currently stands, interesting issues or ideas regarding the research problem, and how to solve the research problem. It is the aim or the function of the literature review to elucidate the research problem and to articulate the implicated questions in order to guide those grilling involving research workers.

4. Common Challenges and Solutions in Literature Review Process

Long literature reviews are often criticized for containing outdated knowledge. To diminish this, designers should conduct updated research to retrieve the latest relevant content. Another time-consuming step referring to dealing with a probatory bias is the adequate reading of the articles. Also, researchers describe that article synthesis sounds harder to be accomplished than expected. This step concerns condensing the main broken contributions of the research field by presenting plainly how areas evolved. Handling different ambiguous and inconsistent publication labels and multiple papers (provided from current members of the research community) with different often-dissonant ideological positions happens and made this step a burden. Furthermore, bouncing back into the field, in order to find additional submissions to an already synthesized analysis and having to evolve papers over time are also described as challenges. Ten guidelines for achieving coherent research processes were given to address the above-described challenges.

In the research, the most cited challenge in conducting literature reviews is finding the adequate number of potential papers and reading and synthesizing them. This made adherent to an efficient search strategy to be one of the most critical aspects of a literature review. While identifying relevant papers, researchers may face several keywords, authors, or publication outlet labels that turn out to be interchangeable, so papers may be published in different fields, which will make comprehensive papers spread across different digital libraries. This kind of task appears to be obvious but can be excruciating work. During this identification, difficulties such as the lack of consideration and adaption of specific search filters for different databases and inappropriate use of Google Scholar dealing with its supposed limitation to track the search history can appear to hamper this initial step.

5. Conclusion and Future Directions

These key contributions of literature reviews are especially relevant in computer science, for three additional reasons. Firstly, in computer science, novel contributions—what, to the best of our knowledge, has never been done before, or mixing traditional techniques in an innovative way—are the drivers of science. So, to propose outstanding research, researchers must be experts in understanding how different pieces of knowledge fit together. Secondly, in most cases, literature review is assumed by the researcher for personal use: forming an understanding of what is out there in the extensive body of the literature. Finally, the work being reported extends a first contribution of literature reviews, which are typically analysed only for their quality and conducted largely by bibliometric methods. However, there is an essential question that is often asked by reviewers, without an empirically supported answer: how can a literature review affect the success of research? By providing empirical evidence, the authors believe that they can provide substantial input on this relevant issue, which, to this date, has been neglected.

It is evident that a well-conducted literature review can contribute significantly to the completion of the other stages within the research. They can help to improve research questions, facilitate defining a research hypothesis or theoretical framework, find empirical experimental studies and contribute to the data analysis, interpretation of findings and dissemination of research results. Also, with their capacity to summarise and synthesise a large amount of research information in a field, literature reviews can influence the theoretical and empirical progress of research in a particular domain. Nevertheless, there is little empirical evidence of their impact in the individual stages of research. In this work, the stages affected by the review are discussed. Seven steps to accomplish a good literature review are provided, along with a detailed list of the advantages that a good literature review can provide. As future work, a web-based tool for helping researchers to perform academic literature reviews is described.

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