Reviewing The Literature

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A good literature review should critically evaluate the quality and findings of the research.

A good literature review should avoid the temptation of stressing the importance of a particular research program.

Whilst some literature reviews can be presented in a chronological order, this is best avoided.

For example, a review of Victorian Age Physics may certainly present J. Thomson’s famous experiments in a chronological order.

A literature review is not simply a chronological catalog of all your sources, but an evaluation.

It pulls the previous research together, and explains how it connects to the research proposed by the current paper.The next stage is to use the internet, and this is where the difficulties begin.It’s challenging to judge the credibility of an online paper.It can help to think of the literature review as the foundations for your study, since the rest of your work will build upon the ideas and existing research you discuss therein.A crucial part of this is formulating a theoretical framework, which comprises the concepts and theories that your work is based upon and against which its success will be judged.People often treat writing the literature review in an academic paper as a formality.Usually, this means simply listing various studies vaguely related to their work and leaving it at that.The literature review also plays a big role in justifying your study and setting your research question.This is because examining past research allows you to identify gaps in the literature, which you can then attempt to fill or address with your own work.The fact that a researcher is undertaking the research program speaks for its importance, and an educated reader may well be insulted that they are not allowed to judge the importance for themselves.They want to be re-assured that it is a serious paper, not a pseudo-scientific sales advertisement.


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