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Literature Review

What is a literature review, what is its purpose, and how to do it.

Purpose

In general, the literature review should:

  • provide a context for the research
  • identify seminal works and scholars in the field
  • acknowledge existing theories, points of view, hypotheses, etc. in the field of research
  • justify the research
  • clear up misconceptions about previous research
  • ensure the research has not been done before (or if it is repeated, that it is marked as a "replication study")
  • show where the research fits into the existing body of knowledge
  • enable the researcher to learn from previous theory on the subject
  • illustrate how the subject has been previously studied
  • highlight flaws in previous research
  • outline gaps in previous research
  • show that the work is adding to the understanding and knowledge of the field
  • help refine the topic, refocus the topic, or even contribute to the topic's evolution

Literature Review Explanation, part 1

Literature Review, part 2

Literature Review, part 3

Samples of Literature Reviews

 

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