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How to write a good literature review

 Category:Research Projects  
 By: usericon Nonny01  

fblog
 Posted: 8/27/2017 9:45:00 AM

Introduction

Learn how to write a good literature review

What is a Review?

A review is simply a way of looking at something and taking a snapshot or summary of it. The snapshots are the major concepts, major points and outcomes/findings of the source material. A review should not be a detailed write-up. It should just be a snapshot or a summary of the work.

 

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is the summary of the major works of other researchers that are relevant to your research work. The literature review is an important part of every research project. The review can help to broaden and sharpen your knowledge of the chosen subject area.

 

A literature review is the summary of the major works of other researchers that are relevant to your research work. The literature review is an important part of every research project. The review can help to broaden and sharpen your knowledge of the chosen subject area.

 

By reviewing other researchers' works, you can have different perspectives on similar research works, thereby helping you to identify gaps or weakness in these. A gap can be a critique of an existing literature or an unexplored/partially explored area. These gaps or weaknesses identified will be of immense help in justifying your research work.

 

Structure of a Literature Review

1. Introduction
2. Theoretical Framework
3. Conceptual Review
4. Empirical Review
5. Summary

Note: Different institutions have various format for writing a literature review. Depending on your field of study and the nature of your research, a good literature review should have most of these components.

 

Introduction

 

Use a  few sentences to let your reader know what the chapter is all about. The introduction should be brief and should contain items to be discussed.  Items such as the definitions and background of the variables/topic are to be included in this section.

 

Example
Suppose your topic is 'The Impact of communication on organizational performance': two keywords/phrase ('communication' and 'organizational performance') stand out. These keywords are the variables. The introduction of the literature review will look like this:

"In this chapter, the focus will be on the review of related literature as expressed by scholars who have undertaken various studies on the impact of communication on organizational performance.

Definition of Communication
In the context of an organization, communication can be defined as the process of transmitting information, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and plans between various parts of an organization"

 

 

Theoretical Framework

 

This section of the literature review is all about the theories related to your research. A theoretical framework is a collection of related ideas/concepts written by other researchers that provide guidance to a research question. A theoretical framework helps to clearly identify what will be explored, examined, measured or described.
As a researcher, you should let your readers know the concepts or theories that your research was based on. For example, using our topic 'The Impact of communication on organizational performance'; Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication, Berlo’s Model of Communication, Schramm’s Model of Communication are some of the theories you will work with.


Conceptual Framework

 

The conceptual framework is all about the way the ideas, variable and terminologies are organized to achieve the research project purpose. In the conceptual framework, the variables and terminologies are defined and described.
For example, using our topic 'The Impact of communication on organizational performance'; the variables are 'communication' and 'organizational performance'. The independent variable is 'communication' while the dependent variable is 'organizational performance'. The conceptual framework for the literature review will have sub-headings/sub-topics such as:

2.2.1 Meaning  and Definition of Communication
2.2.2 Importance of Communication                    
2.2.3 Methods of Communication                    
2.2.4 The Communication Process
2.2.5 Barriers to Communication                    
2.2.6 Channels of Communication
2.2.7 Organizational Performance


In the sub-headings, studies about the relationships that exist between the variables should be included. This will help the readers understand the connection between the ideas/concepts.

 

Empirical Review

 

This involves using empirical evidence(the records of other researchers' direct observations, experience, findings and recommendations) from previous studies conducted in your field of study. Be sure to show your readers findings from a related or similar study previously conducted in your field of research.
For example, using our topic 'The Impact of communication on organizational performance'; the empirical review will contain the findings/results and recommendations from similar or related studies such as 'The Impact of Organizational Communication on Organizational Citizenship Behavior', 'Impact of business communication on organizational performance in Nigerian companies','The effect of communication in the management and development of business organization in Nigeria', e.t.c

Example:

Researchers have developed a variety of measures for Organizational Citizenship Behavior(OCB). Empirical research regarding the consequences of OCBs has focused on organizational performance. Smith, Organ, and Near (1983) proposed a research model that includes altruism and compliance linked to organizational effectiveness. Bateman and Organ’s (1983) research was one of the first measurement of OCB.

Some researches tried to determine factors which have influences on effectiveness of organizational communication (Rice and Case, 1983; Moch, 1990; Allen, 1995). On the other hand, communication competences are also very big issues to be determined (Reinsch, Steele, Lewis, Stano ve Beswick, 1990; Monge, 1990).

LePine, Erez, and Johnson (2002) found that these five dimensions are very highly correlated and do not have much differentiation among antecedents, indicating some overlap in the dimensions.

Rotundo and Sackett (2002) showed the contribution of OCB on overall managerial performance. Conscientiousness consists of behaviors that go well beyond the minimum role requirements of the organization (Law, Wong, and Chen, 2005).

 

Summary

 

This section is where you state your opinions about the different studies you reviewed. The gaps, weaknesses and limitations of earlier works identified in the review of the various research works should be included in your summary.

 

Characteristics of a good literature review

1. Should have enough citations
2. Should have references to the owners of the various studies used in the research.
3. References should not be too old. Studies referenced in the work should not be beyond a decade.
4. Source materials (text books, journals, publications, e.t.c) used in the work should be related to your study.
5. Should not contain plagiarized content.


Sources of materials for literature review

1. Empirical review : conference reports, governmental reports, company reports, scientific journals and publications
2. Conceptual framework: textbooks, academic articles, dictionaries, online (websites and blogs that have credible information)
3. Theoretical framework: libraries, research journals, textbooks, academic articles, online (websites and blogs that have credible information)





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