A Literature Review is an account of what has been published on a given topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Effective and relevant Literature Review helps the researcher to enlarge knowledge on a given topic and apart from that gain and demonstrate skills in two key areas:
- Getting information: The skill to scan the literature in such a manner, with manual efforts or the aid of computerised methods and identify useful articles and books.
- Appraisal with a critical perspective: the skill to apply the principles of effective analysis of study so as to be able to distinguish between valid and invalid studies with an unbiased perspective.
The researcher must shoot to himself the following questions:
- What is the defining line of the literature review in terms of its research problem and question?
- What is the type of Literature Review that the researcher desires to conduct? This depends upon the quest of the researcher who needs to specify the research in terms of methodology, policy, quantitative research, qualitative research or any other specification?
- What is the defined scope of the Literature Review and what are the kinds of publications that need to be used in context to the discipline of the study?
- What is kind of information seeking of the researcher and has the search of relevant Literature Review been wide enough to ensure all the relevant material has been explored and at the same time narrow enough to exclude the irrelevant material?
- Will my content be found worthy, significant and useful by the reader and other researchers?
A literature Review should be looked upon as a discursive prose rather than a list of researches describing the literature one after the other. A quality and worthy literature review would not have a list of paragraphs beginning with the names of the researcher. On the other hand, the Literature Review should be organised in such a way that the trend, theories and themes that are relevant must be presented in a synthesized manner. The researcher must remember that rather than being a list of published material, it should be a consistent flow of guiding material in coherence with the concept of the thesis.