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Citation Master Pages: Literature Review

Literature Review

Chapter II: Review of the Literature

  • Introduction
  • Search Description
  • Conceptual or Theoretical Framework
  • Review of Research (organized by variable or themes)

This chapter serves as the foundation on which the study is built and as a basis for discussing results and interpretations. It summarizes what is known and identifies what is unknown about the topic of the dissertation study. The more extensive the previous work, the more involved the preparation of this chapter becomes. Likewise, there may be several areas of investigation related to the problem. Although a thorough review of the previous research and literature is a necessity, only that which has a direct bearing on the problem should be included. Unnecessary details should be avoided, but major findings and relevant methodological issues should be included. It may be desirable to have a discussion section at the end of the review in which the implications of the previous studies are summarized and then are compared and contrasted with the study under investigation. Relevant examples of research that reports findings that do not support the case being made for the dissertation should also be included.

 

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, dissertations, conference proceedings and other resources which are relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory and provides context for a dissertation by identifying past research. Research tells a story and the existing literature helps us identify where we are in the story currently. It is up to those writing a dissertation to continue that story with new research and new perspectives but they must first be familiar with the story before they can move forward. 

 

Purpose of a Literature Review

  • Identifies gaps in current knowledge
  • Helps you to avoid reinventing the wheel by discovering the research already conducted on a topic
  • Sets the background on what has been explored on a topic so far
  • Increases your breadth of knowledge in your area of research
  • Helps you identify seminal works in your area
  • Allows you to provide the intellectual context for your work and position your research with other, related research
  • Provides you with opposing viewpoints
  • Helps you to discover research methods which may be applicable to your work