Review of Leterature

Topics: Research, Academia, Academic publishing Pages: 11 (2500 words) Published: December 28, 2012
CRICOS Registered Provider: The Flinders University of South Australia CRICOS Provider Number: 00114A
A literature review is an evaluative comparison of various pieces of research. It is not just a set of summaries or a descriptive list of material. It shows the reader what previous research has been done in your field, critiques previous methodology, and evaluates prior studies to show an information gap which your own research will fill. The information which follows is particularly relevant to a thesis literature review, but can be applied to shorter reviews and thesis proposals. 2. WHY DO A LITERATURE REVIEW?

There are many reasons why you should write a literature review. Swales and Feak (1994, pp. 180 – 181) suggest the following (using the word 'citation' to mean 'reference to another author'): 1. Citations recognise and acknowledge the intellectual property rights of authors. They are a matter of ethics and a defence against plagiarism. (General theory) 2. Citations are used to show respect to previous scholars. (General theory) 3. Citations operate a kind of mutual reward system. Writers ‘pay’ other authors in citations. (Ravetz 1971)

4. Citations are tools of persuasion; writers use citations to give their statements greater authority. (Gilbert 1977)
5. Citations are used to demonstrate familiarity with the field. (Bavelas 1978) 6. Citations are used to create a research space. (Swales 1990) Here are some more reasons for writing a review:
• to avoid making the same mistakes as other people
• to carry on from where others have reached
• to increase your breadth of knowledge in your subject area • to identify key works, information and needs in your area • to identify and learn terminology
• to position your own work in context
• to identify opposing views
• to demonstrate that you can access research in the field • to identify methods relevant to your project
• to identify studies that are worth replicating or improving • to find experts in your field whom you could contact
(Adapted from Littrell 2003, Roberts & Taylor 2002 and LSU RMIT 2004.) STUDENT
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Use only what is relevant to your research project. Primary sources are preferable, rather than material you have found in another person's study. You should always justify why you have included some works and not others. Maybe the earlier studies have been disproved, for example, or are now out of date. Information sources may include:

• Books
• Journals
• Research papers
• Theses
• Databases
• Internet
• Bibliographies and reference lists
• Encyclopaedias
• Handbooks
• Maps
• Newspapers
• Government publications
• Statistics
• Conference proceedings
(Adapted from Central Queensland University Library 2000.)
Although you should consider many sources of information, the literature you review will normally be academic. The following checklist gives you an indication as to whether a piece of writing is academic or not. The more ticks you can put in the ‘Yes’ column, the more likely the writing is to be acceptable for academic purposes.

Source Yes No
Is the article peer reviewed/refereed? (ie Has it been read and accepted by other scholars in that field?) You can tell if an article is refereed because the journal or conference proceedings will mention the fact.

Are in-text references used?
Is there an abstract (for a journal article) and a bibliography? Is the bibliography complete?
Is the author affiliated to a university?
What does the text look like? Is advertising limited to academic products or services (such as conferences, books, etc.)?
Is the writing divided into sections (with or without headings), such as...
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