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Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment, but more often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or thesis.
In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
In reporting your critical perspective on the relevant literature and identifying a gap that your research will attempt to address, it situates and establishes the importance of your topic or question within the broader academic community in your discipline or field of study: According to Walsh and Downe (2005), the systematic review "is a robust way of comparing quantitative research and proceeds according to well-determined steps, which include statistical analysis of the pooled results of studies.
This statistical analysis is more accurately called meta-analysis, although this phrase has become interchangeable with systematic review" (pp.
Literature Reviews In Research
It documents the state of the art with respect to the subject or topic you are writing about.
A literature review has four main objectives: A literature review shows your readers that you have an in-depth grasp of your subject; and that you understand where your own research fits into and adds to an existing body of agreed knowledge.
The literature review acknowledges the work of previous researchers, and in so doing, assures the reader that your work has been well conceived.
It is assumed that by mentioning a previous work in the field of study, that the author has read, evaluated, and assimiliated that work into the work at hand.