In simple terms, a literature review can be defined as gathering relevant information on a particular subject of subject. Easier said than done. How do you then know that your literature review is effective? This article gives qualities of an effective survey of literature.
• It is characterized by analysis as opposed to summarizing, quoting and paraphrasing
• It must strike a balance between sources supporting and opposing a particular aspect or argument
• It should be wide enough to cover or provide enough information required on the subject
• It must be narrow enough to eliminate irrelevant information from your research
• It must be conducted from reliable sources- students must give books and journals the first priority when doing a literature review. In the event you they are using articles written by other researchers, the articles must be peer-reviewed.
• The writer must follow the stipulated formatting style
• The sources must be relevant and authoritative
• It should not necessarily be organized logically, organizing a literature based on the weight of points presented gives it more weight.
• It must clearly address the research question and the theoretical framework
• It must identify studies and models that support your topic
• It should define key term, terminology and definitions. It should also state the meaning of acronyms.
• It must lay a strong foundation for your research topic
How to conduct a literature review
• Scan through the abstract or introduction to check the mention of your topic.
• Evaluate the source for relevance and quality noting that a long list of sources does not necessarily translate to high quality literature review
• Confirm the availability of duplicated researches
• Identify places of convergence and divergence as regards your hypothesis or thesis statement
In the event literature review proves to be a task, do not hesitate to request for assistance from your instructors or experts. The quality of literature review done lays a foundation for the research project.