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In a literature review, you're aiming to summarise and provide a critical analysis of the research arguments you have found in your readings, without making Now that we know what a literature review is, the next step is to understand the point of writing one in the first place.
Having a quick scan of the abstract and its ‘keywords’ will often give you an indication of the whether the source will be useful for your research or not.
As you’re identifying your sources, ensure you a keep a list as it’s very easy to lose focus given the wide scope of the Internet.
To help you choose your sources appropriately, you might want to think about the parameters and objectives of your research. In your literature review, what theoretical issues or perspectives do you aim to tackle? Will you focus on mainly qualitative or quantitative studies, or a mixture of both?
These general questions should help guide you in selecting your sources and again, remember that the abstract of a source is a very useful tool.
As the next section of this blog is quite lengthy, we've broken it down into several key steps which should make it easier to follow when writing your own dissertation literature review.
You start by identifying your sources, then you read and re-read them.
Whereas a summary will most likely provide a simple recap of the general arguments of the source(s), the expectations concerning a literature review extend beyond this.
A literature review may provide a new perspective on a classic research paper or it may combine both new and old interpretations (this is the “gap” – more on this later).
As unnatural as it may feel, it’s most effective to read in a few stages, as detailed below: First, go through all the texts to get a sense of their general content and arguments.
This will also help you judge which sources you mainly want to focus on in your review. Do you have any comments on the methodological approach, the theoretical argument or the general hypothesis? It will ensure that your literature review is not merely a summary of your readings, and will encourage a clear line of argument so that your work is logical and coherent.