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What is a literature review?

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When writing an academic paper, one shall often include a review of the studied literature to give a reader a broader picture. For some students, the allocation of a separate part of the essay to the simple literature overlook seems to be a bit odd. However, this is done for the purposes other than running to a certain amount of words, namely to convey to the reader the already existing knowledge and ideas on the topic.

Under literature review, one should understand an account of the chosen significant works published on the researched problem by accredited scholars and scientists. In addition, it may also mean a separate essay named an annotated bibliography. Being especially time-consuming, annotated bibliography may be outsourced to specializing in the high-quality academic essay writing. This will save time in case the student is totally unaware of how to complete the task on his/her own.

Types of Reviews

Just like with essays, there are also many different types of the materials’ review correspondingly to their purposes. Some experts suggest a number of literature reviews types, including the following ones:

  • This type examines the selected literary pieces in order to either support or denies an established opinion, long-embedded assumption, or philosophical issue already present in the literature. Being a legitimate form of the discourse, argumentative one establishes a point contrary to the one discussed in the main body of the essay.
  • For a historical overview of the literature, one has to present all the major ideas, concepts, and theories in the order of their appearance. This allows for a more comprehensive description of the issue as compared to the modern developments and establishes a direction for the future research on the matter.
  • Helps to see the methodological side of the previous studies rather than the ideological. In other words, this approach provides a framework of understanding at different levels.
  • In order to examine the fundamental theories having accumulated in regard to a particular issue, one may perform a theoretical literature overview. Such expands the understanding of the already existing theories and discusses the new hypotheses to be tested. As a rule, it is used to develop new and more relevant theories explaining the latest researching problems.
  • Assesses the sources in an integrative way so that the body of review includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses.

Analyzing Literature Sources

Since a review of academic sources in the majority of cases is a critical analysis of the papers and findings in the respective fields, to effectively analyze such, one should ask certain questions. To start with, a student has to identify a specific thesis, problem, or the research questions that the literature review aims to determine. Afterward, the type of the review of literature is to be decided on depending on the purposes.

The scope of the literature overview helps to concentrate on the certain types of the publications which are presumed to be processed. This is also related to the discipline the scholar is reviewing the literature within. Moreover, the relevance of the materials, as well as their sufficiency, shall also be checked and questioned.

Finally, one has to ensure that the conducted analysis was performed critically enough. This includes the discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the studies materials, as well as a comparison of different items and questions which they relate to. The presence of the cited and discussed studies contrary to the writer’s perspective also defines the accuracy of the literature review.

From the perspective of the scholars, writing a review of literature may significantly enhance knowledge on the studied topic. Apart from this, it allows one demonstrate his or her skills in search of information including the ability to scan the literature effectively, using both manual and computerized methods. In addition, skills of critical assessment can be demonstrated through the ability to apply the principles of analysis to find out the unbiased studies.

All in all, literature analysis stands for the written evaluation and discussion of the materials on the topic in question. There is a number of different overlooks on the literature incorporated into the larger research paper as well as a separate writing called annotated bibliography. Being present in almost all of the scholarly papers, such overviews help writers to critically assess the existing theoretical background and find a possible problem to research in future.

Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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