Whether you are new to writing dissertations or are already a pro, you sure have hard times understanding what the lit review in your paper should be all about. You may have heard that a literature review is a lot like a summary of the research on the same topic that occurred before. A lit review can stand for various types of works, and be either a part of some other paper like a report or a thesis, or a separate paper – usually an essay, written for school or a journal. It does not matter what kind of project you have there, the purpose of the review is the same for all types of works – provide the information on the works on the topic written so far. In the dissertation, this part helps to justify the choice of the topic, convey the relevance and importance of it, and provide the background for the methodology.
It is vital to mention that in this case, a ‘review’ stands for the summarized material from certain sections of the work in the field. Depending on the requirements or the preferences of your teachers, you will either have to summarize, analyze the work thoroughly, or do both. The ‘literature’ here means the books, journal articles, and other scholarly sources. This means that the materials you have to use should be internationally accepted as professional for the field, and have to be used by experts in the sphere. Thus, it is crucial to make sure the data in every literary piece you put in the paper can be trusted.
It is important to consider a few things while writing. First, think what is already known about the topic/subject, and which further studies other researchers recommend taking. In order to find something good to write about, it is necessary to look for the knowledge gaps in the field and see if you can fill them in. Search for the specialists who have contributed to the subject the most and see the books they have written. See what kind of problems and questions they have found while researching, and what do they recommend other people to study and pay special attention to. Also, after looking through the literature, it is important to come up with the methodology you find the most appropriate for your research.
In case your lit review is the section of the bigger paper, a dissertation, for example, you will have to summarize/analyze previous researches on the topic. You will sure have certain limits for the material you can use, especially if you pursue a degree in a scientific field, so be sure to adhere to them.
Numerous students wonder why they have to complete literature reviews. If you are one of them, you need to understand that it provides the background info and makes you and your readers realize how your topic fits the big research picture. Also, it explains why you have chosen to approach the topic the way you did, and why this choice is a great one. You will let the reader see that you have researched thoroughly, and made an effort to make the project professional.
Even though lit reviews are hard to write, the formula is simple. You need to take the summary of the sources, analyze their contribution to the field, and explain what has been found so far. Show how the researchers approached the topic in their works. Explain what your study does for this subject and how it contributes to the field in general. You can mention how many sources you have reviewed and show the criteria you used to include or exclude the sources out of your paper. Make it evident that you did your best to produce a significant work.