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Writing a Literature Review

What questions do you need to ask in order to conduct a thorough literature review?

Selecting the Literature

  • Have you clearly indicated the scope and purpose of the review?

  • Have you included a balanced coverage of what is available?

  • Have you included the most recent and relevant studies?

  • Have you included enough material to show the development and limitations in this area?

  • Have you indicated the source of the literature by referencing accurately?

  • Have you used mostly primary sources or appropriate secondary sources?

Critiquing Sources Found

  • Have you clearly (and logically) ordered and sorted the research, focusing on themes or ideas rather than the authors?

  • Does the review move from broader concepts to a more specific focus?

  • Is there adequate critique of research limitations, including design and methodology?

  • Are the studies compared and contrasted with controversies highlighted?

  • Is the relevance to your problem clear?

Summarizing & Interpreting

  • Have you made an overall interpretation of what is available?

  • Do the implications provide theoretical of empirical justification for your own research questions/hypothesis?

  • Do the implications provide a rationale for your own research design?