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Literature Reviews

What is a literature review?

What is a Literature Review?

A literature or a narrative review is a comprehensive review and analysis of the published literature on a specific topic or research question. The literature that is reviewed contains: books, articles, academic articles, conference proceedings, association papers, and dissertations. It contains the most pertinent studies and points to important past and current research and practices. It provides background and context, and shows how your research will contribute to the field. 

A literature review should: 

  • Provide a comprehensive and updated review of the literature;
  • Explain why this review has taken place;
  • Articulate a position or hypothesis;
  • Acknowledge and account for conflicting and corroborating points of view

From Sage Research Methods

Limitations of a Literature Review

Some of the limitations of a literature review are:

  • It's a snapshot in time. Unlike other reviews, this one has beginning, a middle and an end. There may be future developments that could make your work less relevant.
  • It may be too focused. Some niche studies may miss the bigger picture.
  • It can be difficult to be comprehensive. There is no way to make sure all the literature on a topic was considered.
  • It is easy to be biased if you stick to top tier journals. There may be other places where people are publishing exemplary research. Look to open access publications and conferences to try to get a more inclusive literature collection. 

 

Source: Grant, Maria J., and Andrew Booth. “A Typology of Reviews: An Analysis of 14 Review Types and Associated Methodologies.” Health Information & Libraries Journal, vol. 26, no. 2, June 2009, pp. 91–108. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x.

Librarians

Roxanne Bogucka: Nursing, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Public Health

Meryl Brodsky: Communication and Information Studies

Hannah Chapman Tripp: Biology, Neuroscience

Elle Covington: Educational Psychology, Kinesiology & Health Education, Social Work

Carolyn Cunningham: Human Development & Family Sciences, Psychology, Sociology

Larayne Dallas: Engineering

Janelle Hedstrom: Special Education, Curriculum & Instruction, Ed Leadership & Policy‚Äč

Susan Macicak: Linguistics

Imelda Vetter: Dell Medical School

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