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How much is good enough: Clear the Literature Review confusion

The key basis for any of the research study is the question that is there in itself. If your research question is vague or lacks clarity and specification then what follows in forms of objectives and hypotheses of the study will also not be clear. If you so intent to develop the right question for your study, what is required is a very strong and solid review of literature.  A good understanding and exhibition of literature depicts the amount of expertise you have in your topic and you are able to justify and validate the question that you put up in your literature review.

All of this is easier said than done and sounds very good on paper. But from the glut of research that is available in the academia at the moment, it becomes a challenge to identify how much is enough. If you take the opinion of your supervisor, most likely he would tell you that you shouldn’t run after quantity but rather focus upon the quality of the content. It surely is valuable guidance, but still it may become a challenge to be able to decide how much of content sufficient content is.

There are some simple rules that apply here:

  1. There is a strong connection between the breadth and depth of your literature review. The area of the study that you choose will have some amount of history attached to it in terms of previous work done. If the amount of work done previously is limited then you would have to go more in depth of that limited work available. However, if lot of work in your field is already existing then you would have to do wider study going back in to the history as much as possible. Keep the chronological arrangement structured and avoid gaps if any in the chronology.

The effectiveness with which you select your keywords will determine the quality of your work. If you choose too many keywords then you would be buried under the results for a long time and if you choose too few then you would bear the risk of slipping over a relevant theory and important paper that could a lot of weight to your paper.

Decide the length of your literature review on the basis of you’re a lot of reviews that you read.  Feeling confident about the length of your content will reflect in the feeling that it is enough to add weight to your study.


One Response to How much is good enough: Clear the Literature Review confusion

  1. Rakhi August 25, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    Yes, length of Literature review is always a question, how long should it be, however, thanks for this post, this has solved quite a few questions.

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