Literature review is important because it:
- Provides ideas about what should be studied;
- Helps us conduct inquires that have not already been done
- Connects our research to existing studies
But…doing a literature review is not simply summarizing (or copying) what you think is related and useful to your work. BEING CRITICAL AND CAREFUL IS A MUST!
In reviewing existing literature, you may try to look for gaps in the field and rework your study in a different setting or with different people. Nonetheless, literature review is a continuous sense-making process -- you need to review the literature continuously in order to organize your thoughts and refine your analysis.
A good literature review should be able to:
- Connect to your research questions
- Connect to your choice of methods and research design
- Support your data analysis
- Help you draw conclusions and make claims about your research.
Selecting your literature with a purpose
It is impossible to read everything, so when selecting literature for reviewing, consider these:
- Is it relevant to your topic/field of study?
- Is it a primary source from the researcher(s) or secondary source (e.g. a summary you read in a book about someone’s research)?
- Is it updated?
Nature of literatures:
Your literature review can be of different dimensions. Each has its foci and purposes