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What to write in a literature review for a research paper

Writing a Literature Review Writing a Literature Review When writing a research paper on a specific topic, you will often need to include an overview of any prior research that has been conducted on that topic. For example, if your research paper is describing an experiment on fear conditioning, then you will probably need to provide an overview of prior research on fear conditioning. That overview is typically known as a literature review.

Please note that a full-length literature review article may be suitable for fulfilling the requirements for the Psychology B. For further details, please check with your faculty advisor. Different Types of Literature Reviews Literature reviews come in many forms. They can be part of a research paper, for example as part of the Introduction section. They can be one chapter of a doctoral dissertation.

For instance, some journals such as Annual Review of Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, and others typically publish full-length review articles.

Degree Research Paper requirement. Alternatively, you may be expected to include a literature review as part of a larger research paper such as part of an Honors Thesis.

Literature reviews can be written using a variety of different styles. These may differ in the way prior research is reviewed as well as the way in which the literature review is organized.

Examples of stylistic variations in literature reviews include: Summarization of prior work vs. In some cases, prior research is simply described and summarized; in other cases, the writer compares, contrasts, and may even critique prior research for example, discusses their strengths and weaknesses.

In some cases, the literature review begins with the oldest research and advances until it concludes with the latest research. In other cases, research is discussed by category such as in groupings of closely related studies without regard for chronological order. In yet other cases, research is discussed in terms of opposing views such as when different research studies or researchers disagree with one another.

Overall, all literature reviews, whether they are written as a part of a larger work or as separate articles unto themselves, have a common feature: How to Write a Literature Review When writing a literature review, it can be helpful to rely on the following steps.

  1. If you are using an electronic form of note taking, you might note these descriptors in a separate field e.
  2. Depending on the stage at which your paper is at, this may involve merging your literature review into a partially complete Introduction section, writing the rest of the paper around the literature review, or other processes.
  3. Examples of stylistic variations in literature reviews include.
  4. So you might want to check out the books used in related classes in sociology. In the case of this Educ 7001 introductory literature review, your initial purpose is to provide an overview of the topic that is of interest to you, demonstrating your understanding of key works and concepts within your chosen area of focus.
  5. But how do you go through it and make sense of it "one the whole?

Please note that these procedures are not necessarily only for writing a literature review that becomes part of a larger article; they can also be used for writing a full-length article that is itself a literature review although such reviews are typically more detailed and exhaustive; for more information please refer to the Further Resources section of this page.

Steps for Writing a Literature Review 1. Identify and define the topic that you will be reviewing. The topic, which is commonly a research question or problem of some kind, needs to be identified and defined as clearly as possible.

You need to have an idea of what you will be reviewing in order to effectively search for references and to write a coherent summary of the research on it. At this stage it can be helpful to write down a description of the research question, area, or topic that you will be reviewing, as well as to identify any keywords that you will be using to search for relevant research. Conduct a literature search. Use a range of keywords to search databases such as PsycINFO and any others that may contain relevant articles.

You should focus on peer-reviewed, scholarly articles. Read through titles and abstracts, select and obtain articles that is, what to write in a literature review for a research paper, copy, or print them outand save your searches as needed. For more information about this step, please see the Using Databases and Finding Scholarly References section of this website. Read through the research that you have found and take notes.

Absorb as much information as you can. Read through the articles and books that you have found, and as you do, take notes. The notes should include anything that will be helpful in advancing your own thinking about the topic and in helping you write the literature review such as key points, ideas, or even page numbers that index key information.

Some references may turn out to be more helpful than others; you may notice patterns or striking contrasts between different sources ; and some sources may refer to yet other sources of potential interest. This is often the most time-consuming part of the review process.

However, it is also where you get to learn about the topic in great detail. Organize your notes and thoughts; create an outline. At this stage, you are close to writing the review itself. However, it is often helpful to first reflect on all the reading that you have done.

What patterns stand out? Do the different sources converge on a consensus? What unresolved questions still remain? You should look over your notes it may also be helpful to reorganize themand as you do, to think about how you will present this research in your literature review. Are you going to summarize or critically evaluate? Are you going to use a chronological or other type of organizational structure?

It can also be helpful to create an outline of how your literature review will be structured. Write the literature review itself and edit and revise as needed. The final stage involves writing. When writing, keep in mind that literature reviews are generally characterized by a summary style in which prior research is described sufficiently to explain critical findings but does not include a high level of detail if readers want to learn about all the specific details of a study, then they can look up the references that you cite and read the original articles themselves.

However, the degree of emphasis that is given to individual studies may vary more or less detail may be warranted depending on how critical or unique a given study was.

Guidelines for writing a literature review

After you have written a first draft, you should read it carefully and then edit and revise as needed. You may need to repeat this process more than once. It may be helpful to have another person read through your draft s and provide feedback. Incorporate the literature review into your research paper draft. After the literature review is complete, you should incorporate it into your research paper if you are writing the review as one component of a larger paper.

Depending on the stage at which your paper is at, this may involve merging your literature review into a partially complete Introduction section, writing the rest of the paper around the literature review, or other processes.

Further Tips for Writing a Literature Review Full-length literature reviews Many full-length literature review articles use a three-part structure: Second, choose how you will order all the paragraphs and combine them in one document. Third, add transitions between the paragraphs, as well as an introductory and concluding paragraph.

Rather, it should contain most or all of the significant studies about a research topic but not tangential or loosely related ones. You may however need to confer with your instructor or editor to determine how comprehensive you need to be. Benefits of Literature Reviews By summarizing prior research on a topic, literature reviews have multiple benefits. Literature reviews help readers understand what is known about a topic without having to find and read through multiple sources.

In other words, they provide helpful background and context. Literature reviews can also help the writer learn about a given topic while in the process of preparing the review itself. In the act of research and writing the literature review, the writer gains expertise on the topic.