This Study Guide explains why literature reviews are needed, and how they can be conducted and reported.
Related Study Guides are: Referencing and bibliographies, Avoiding plagiarism, Writing a dissertation, What is critical reading? The focus of the Study Guide is the literature review within a dissertation or a thesis, but many of the ideas are transferable to other kinds of writing, such as an extended essay, or a report.
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The ability to review, and to report on relevant literature is a key academic skill.
A literature review: To some extent, particularly with postgraduate research, the literature review can become a project in itself.
The purpose of writing a literature review is to establish your authority in your research.
Without that established credibility, your research findings are dismissed as nothing but your opinions founded on some basic methodologies.
A poorly executed scientific literature review can destroy a research thesis in four easy steps: It’s not about maximizing the quantity of material reviewed, nor should the objective be to read “everything” about your proposed topic – for some topics that would be a physical impossibility.
Focus on the relevance of the material to your proposed topic, and map out a logical framework for analyzing that material.