That you should review literature before writing a research paper is not an option. A literature review is an exhaustive survey on previously done researches on a specific point of view. You must however conduct your literature survey from credible and authoritative sources. If you are using articles or reports, be careful to note that they are peer-reviewed, otherwise they will be disqualified. The guide to conducting an effective; literature survey is guided by the objective of your study, whether you want to take an exploratory or argumentative approach, etc.
Through conducting a review of literature, you have an opportunity to:
- Demonstrate your information seeking skills, and
- Demonstrate your critical analysis skills
- A successful literature review must:
- Raise questions that must be supplied with an answer
- Give a synthesis of the known and the unknown
- Identify areas of consensus and controversy
- Show the relationship between past studies and the thesis statement
To conduct an effective literature review, answer the questions below:
- What research question is it answering?
- Will the literature survey focus on methodology, qualitative research or methodology
- What is the scope of the study?
- Have you done exhaustive information seeking?
- Was information-seeking wise and narrow enough to give you relevant information?
- Have you utilized your critical analysis skills as opposed to listing and summarizing
- Have you referred to sources that contradict your viewpoint?
- Was the literature review relevant, appropriate and useful?
- In reference to the sources you want to review literature, the following questions are important
- Has the author formulated the research question?
- What is the significance and is it clearly explained?
- How effective is the author in addressing the research questions
- What was the perspective of the author- analysis, interpretation, combination of the two etc
- What is the theoretical framework of the author
- You could explore to get more tips on how you can review literature effectively.