Literature Review

Literature review is important because it:

  1. Provides ideas about what should be studied;
  2. Helps us conduct inquires that have not already been done
  3. 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: 

  1. Connect to your research questions
  2. Connect to your choice of methods and research design
  3. Support your data analysis
  4. 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:

  1. Is it relevant to your topic/field of study?
  2. 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)?
  3. Is it updated?

Nature of literatures:

Your literature review can be of different dimensions. Each has its foci and purposes