Composing a Literature Review

Composing a Literature Review

The academic writer has the responsibility of providing the general overview of the relevant published literature. If you are aware that your readers do not know much about the discussed topic, then the aim is to inform. If the readers already have some knowledge of the topic, then the writer’s goal is to show expertise, familiarity with the subject, and intellect. When working on the literature review, he/she has to:

  • Discuss the book using the existing literature.
  • Explain the major topic of the paper.
  • Recognize new methods of interpreting the existing gaps in previous studies.
  • Try to resolve the existing conflicts in previous studies that seem contradictory.
  • Define the literature that contributes to the topic’s understanding.

Literature Review Content

When composing a literature review, it is essentially important to come up with a clear structure and make sure that your thoughts flow logically. Try to make sure that the references and sources are relevant and cited according to the chosen standard. Present the topic’s vocabulary and perspectives in a comprehensive way.

Your Literature Review Has to Include:

  • Topic’s general idea, issue, or theory.
  • Division of the used literary works into concepts and categories.
  • Mentions of other works with similar ideas written before your review.
  • Your conclusion about other reviews that also made certain contributions to the development of the chosen subject.

Below are the points to consider when assessing whether the work has to be included in a review:

  • Neutrality: Is there a chance that the author's perspective is biased?
  • Qualifications: Who is the author of the literary piece?
  • Worth: Do the author’s perspectives and ideas support your own viewpoints?
  • Credibility: Are the writer’s hypotheses convincing?

The transitions among the presented points should synthesize, analyze, and assess other perspectives, instead of just summarizing or translating them.

What is your approach to the presented work? Through the points that you are making and the words, which you are using either in support or against the chosen topic, readers will make certain conclusions. Take a look at the reporting verbs meant to indicate:

  • Neutral valuation (report, quote, mention, and look at);
  • Critical assessment (attack, object, or even condemn);
  • Positive assessment (argue, advocate);
  • Tentative assessment (believe, allude to, suggest, hypothesize).

In the literature review, a special role is played by the way the material is presented:

  • Insert meaningful quotations in the context of the made argument.
  • Try to quote and select only the relevant material to make strong arguments.
  • Focus on the quotations and their interpretations.
  • Integrate into the text only the most relevant citations.

The careful usage of direct citations reflects the author’s choice to put a bigger emphasis on the described author or message.

  • Non-integral quotations are the ones that make reference to the writer using end or footnotes.
  • Integral quotations are the ones with the name of the author in it.

Your own ideas have to be in the center of the literature review, but the work has also include the ideas that were written previously by others. The literature review has to unite your ideas with other ideas in the chosen field.

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