A literature review is a collection of critically analyzed and evaluated publications on a particular topic with the aim being to synthesize and summarize different points of view on that particular topic or subject. At the end of writing a literature review, the survey should be in a position to describe already existing knowledge, and research gaps associated with your field and topic of study. In addition, the survey should reveal similarities, differences, consistencies and inconsistencies among different researchers or authors.
Different fields call for different approaches in writing a literature review. This article however gives a general approach that can be used to write a literature review at all levels and fields of specialization. For specific approach however, it is imperative that you consult with your supervisor for assistance.
1) Finding models
Consider reading reviews previously written to guide you on the themes you should adopt in your study, and how you will organize your final literature review paper.
2) Formulating the problem
You must be careful when formulating a thesis statement. Create a thesis statement based on the information or knowledge gained as you read previously done literature reviews.
3) Searching for literature
Reading literature from different sources will help you identify the scope of your study and the key issues that you should address in your study. Intensive survey of literature will help you identify researchers that have taken a general or specific view, those who can help you justify the significance of your study etc.
4) Evaluating your work
Writing a literature review effectively requires that you read to understand different perspectives on a topic from different authors.
Analyzing and interpreting
This stage requires you to identify different methods of data collection and data analysis used and the theories that were tested. When writing a literature review, also note the emphasis laid by different authors on the specific topic you are studying.