What is Literature Review in Research?

What is Literature Review in Research?

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What is Literature Review in Research?

A literature review examines books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a specific issue, area of research, or theory, and provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem under consideration.

Literature reviews are intended to provide an overview of the sources you used while researching a specific topic and to show your readers how your research fits into a larger field of study.

Meaning of Literature Review in Research

A literature review is an examination of scholarly sources on a particular topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and research gaps.

Furthermore, it is the process of summarizing, synthesizing, and/or critiquing the literature discovered through a literature search. It could be used to provide context or background for a primary research project.



Importance of Literature Review in Research

A literature review can simply be a summary of key sources, but in the social sciences, a literature review usually follows an organizational pattern and combines summary and synthesis, often within specific conceptual categories.

A summary is a recap of the source’s important information, whereas a synthesis is a re-organization, or reshuffling, of that information to inform how you intend to investigate a research problem.

A literature review’s analytical features may include:

1. Give a fresh take on old material, or combine new and old interpretations.

2. Follow the intellectual development of the field, including major debates.

3. Depending on the circumstances, evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most relevant or pertinent research, or

4. Identifying gaps in how a problem has been researched to date is usually done at the end of a literature review.

What is the Purpose of a Literature Review?

When writing a thesis, dissertation, or research paper, you will almost certainly be required to conduct a literature review in order to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

1. Place each work in the context of how it contributes to understanding the research problem under consideration.

2. Describe how each work relates to the others under consideration.

3. Find new ways to interpret previous research.

4. Highlight any gaps in the literature.

5. Resolve apparent contradictions between previous studies.

5. To avoid duplication of effort, identify areas of prior scholarship.

6. Point the way to a need for additional research.

7. Place your own research within the context of existing literature.

Types of Literature Review in Research

There are several types of literature review in research. Here are some of them:

Argumentative Review

This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an already established argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem in the literature.

The goal is to create a body of literature that establishes a counter-argument.

Because some social science research is value-laden [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse.

However, when used to make summary claims like those found in systematic reviews, they can introduce bias issues [see below].

Integrative Review

Considered a type of research that integrates, reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in order to generate new frameworks and perspectives on the topic.

All studies that address related or identical hypotheses or research problems are included in the body of literature.

In terms of clarity, rigor, and replication, a well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research. In the social sciences, this is the most common type of review.

Historical Review

Few things stand apart from historical precedent. Historical literature reviews examine research over time, often beginning with the first time an issue, concept, theory, or phenomenon appeared in the literature and tracing its evolution within a discipline’s scholarship.

The goal is to contextualize research in order to demonstrate familiarity with cutting-edge developments and to identify likely future research directions.

Systematic Review

This form contains an overview of existing evidence relevant to a clearly stated research question, and it employs pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, as well as to collect, report, and analyze data from the included studies.

The goal is to purposefully document, critically evaluate, and scientifically summarize all research on a clearly defined research problem.

Typically, it focuses on a single empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect format, such as “How much does A contribute to B?”

This type of literature review is most commonly used to examine prior research studies in clinical medicine and allied health fields, but it is also being used more frequently in the social sciences.


Theoretical Review

This form’s purpose is to examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in relation to an issue, concept, theory, or phenomenon.

The theoretical literature review aids in determining what theories already exist, their relationships, the extent to which existing theories have been investigated, and the development of new hypotheses to be tested.

This form is frequently used to demonstrate a lack of appropriate theories or to demonstrate that current theories are insufficient for explaining new or emerging research problems.

The analytical unit can be a single theoretical concept or an entire theory or framework.

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Nsikak Ekikor.

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