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It could be from five sources at first year undergraduate level to more than fifty for a thesis. Keep a note of the publication title, date, authors’ names, page numbers and publishers. Each body paragraph should deal with a different theme that is relevant to your topic.
A literature review is a critical analysis of published sources, or literature, on a particular topic.
It is an assessment of the literature and provides a summary, classification, comparison and evaluation.
Definition and Use/Purpose A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject.
The literature of a literature review is not made up of novels and short stories and poetry—but is the collection of writing and research that has been produced on a particular topic.
If the topic is one from which you want to embark on a major research project, doing a literature review will save you time and help you figure out where you might focus your attention so you don’t duplicate research that has already been done.
Just to be clear: a literature review differs from a research paper in that a literature review is a summary and synthesis of the major arguments and thinking of experts on the topic you’re investigating, whereas a research paper supports a position or an opinion you have developed yourself as a result of your own analysis of a topic.
The literature review is generally in the format of a standard essay made up of three components: an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
It is not a list like an annotated bibliography in which a summary of each source is listed one by one.
Another advantage of doing a literature review is that it summarizes the intellectual discussion that has been going on over the decades—or centuries—on a specific topic and allows you to join in that conversation (what academics call academic discourse) from a knowledgeable position.
The following presentation will provide you with the basic steps to follow as you work to complete a literature review.