A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. It is often a 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. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries. Writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas:
A literature review must do these things
Written by Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto
These are articles in which the authors present a new set of findings from original research after conducting an experiment, survey, interview, or a case study . These articles usually contain the following parts:
Methods: This section describes the techniques used to execute the research, including the collection of data, and the statistical procedures used. This is usually full of technical jargon, so it can be difficult for non-specialists to read.
A detailed explanation of the method is necessary for two reasons:
(1) other researchers may wish to repeat the experiments to test the findings
(2) the validity of the results depends in part on the techniques and types of analyses used
Results: This section is typically a very technical presentation of the outcome of the research. The results are usually described with the aid of tables, statistical tests where appropriate, and figures and diagrams if necessary.
Discussion: This is where the authors interpret their results in light of previous work in the area. Here the authors must convince the reader of the validity and importance of their findings. Sometimes, ideas for future or follow-up research are included.
References cited: The authors must list all the articles they cited within their own article as the last section of the paper. This is an excellent way to find citations to other related articles
WorldCat is the largest network of library resources worldwide. In searching the WorldCat catalogue, you are finding information about the holdings of almost every library in the United States.
Top 10 Favorite Descriptors from the Thesaurus
Academic performance disparity (as measured by educational indicators such as grades, graduation rates, standardized test scores, college admission, course selection) between or among student groups. The groups may be defined by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, English language proficiency, gender, geographic location, etc.
Scores or measurements that are used to predict outcomes or to make estimates of other measures -- in research, they describe the characteristics of the sample that are expected to affect the outcome
|Level of attainment in any or all reading skills, usually estimated by performance on a test (Note: Prior to Jun80, "Reading Level" was occasionally used to index this concept)|
At Risk Students
Students considered in danger of not graduating, being promoted, or meeting other education-related goals. Risk factors may include, but are not limited to, socioeconomic status; academic background; behavior, cognitive, or physical problems; family or community environment; and school capacity to meet student needs. Prior to 2008, the Descriptor "High Risk Students" may have been used to index this concept.
Techniques used in the classroom by those in authority (e.g., teachers, aides, administrators) -- may either be directly educational or facilitate educational processes
Ways of presenting instructional materials or conducting instructional activities
Computer Uses in Education
The use of computers for instruction, testing, student/pupil personnel services, school administrative support services, and other educational purposes (Note: Use a more specific term if possible -- prior to Aug86, this concept was frequently indexed by "Computer Oriented Programs")
Process of making technological tools and services, such as computer systems and the Internet, a part of the educational environment -- includes changes made to the curriculum as well as to educational facilities