Literature Reviews in the Health and Life Sciences: Home
Books from the Catalog
- How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine byISBN: 9781118800966Publication Date: 2014
- Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions byCall Number: R723.7 .C63 2009ISBN: 9780470699515Publication Date: 2008
- Developing Quality Dissertations in the Sciences byCall Number: LB 2369. L683 (Knowledge Commons, Level 2)ISBN: 9781579222598
- Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care byISBN: 9780335222629
- Doing a Systematic Review byCall Number: R 853. S95 D65 2014 (Knowledge Commons, Level 2)ISBN: 9781446269688Publication Date: 2013
- Doing a Literature Review. Releasing the Social Science Research Imaginatio byCall Number: H62 .H2566 1998ISBN: 0761959742
- Health Sciences Literature Review Made Easy byISBN: 1449618685
- How to Write, Publish, and Present in the Health Sciences byCall Number: R119 .L365 2010ISBN: 9781934465141
- The Literature Review: Six Steps for Success byCall Number: LB1047.3 .M33 2009ISBN: 9781412961349
- The Literature Review byCall Number: LB2369 .R525 2008ISBN: 9781412934268Publication Date: 2008-03-03The Literature Review is a concise step-by-step guide to conducting a literature search and writing up the literature review chapter in graduate dissertations and in professional doctorate theses. Diana Ridley describes how to carry out a literature review in a systematic, methodical way, providing useful strategies for efficient reading, conducting searches, organizing information, and writing the review itself.
- Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis: A Step-By-Step Approach. byCall Number: H62 .C5859 2010ISBN: 9781412937054
- Telling a Research Story: Writing a Literature Review byCall Number: LB2369 .F43 2009ISBN: 9780472033362
- Doing a Literature ReviewJeffrey W. Knopf
PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 2006), pp. 127-132
Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.
Similar to primary research, development of the literature review requires four stages:
- Problem formulation—which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues?
- Literature search—finding materials relevant to the subject being explored
- Data evaluation—determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic
- Analysis and interpretation—discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature
Literature reviews should comprise the following elements:
- An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review
- Division of works under review into categories (e.g. those in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely)
- Explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others
- Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research
In assessing each piece, consideration should be given to:
- Provenance—What are the author's credentials? Are the author's arguments supported by evidence (e.g. primary historical material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent scientific findings)?
- Objectivity—Is the author's perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or is certain pertinent information ignored to prove the author's point?
- Persuasiveness—Which of the author's theses are most/least convincing?
- Value—Are the author's arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?
3. 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. In either case, its purpose is to:
- Place each work in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the subject under review
- Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration
- Identify new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in, previous research
- Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies
- Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort
- Point the way forward for further research
- Place one's original work (in the case of theses or dissertations) in the context of existing literature
The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary
An annotated example of a literature review may be found at:
Find published, peer-reviewed literature reviews in your field by searching the Ebsco Host, JStore, or Scopus Databases. Search "Literature Review" (title) and "Your area of interest."
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