One of the most important early steps in a research project is the conducting of the literature review. This is also one of the most humbling experiences you're likely to have. Why? Because you're likely to find out that just about any worthwhile idea you will have has been thought of before, at least to some degree. I frequently have students who come to me complaining that they couldn't find anything in the literature that was related to their topic. And virtually every time they have said that, I was able to show them that was only true because they only looked for articles that were exactly the same as their research topic. A literature review is designed to identify related research, to set the current research project within a
…show more content…
Since all credible research studies have to review the literature themselves, you can check their literature review to get a quick start on your own. Second, prior research will help ensure that you include all of the major relevant constructs in your study. You may find that other similar studies routinely look at an outcome that you might not have included. Your study would not be judged credible if it ignored a major construct. Third, the literature review will help you to find and select appropriate measurement instruments. You will readily see what measurement instruments researchers used themselves in contexts similar to yours. Finally, the literature review will help you to anticipate common problems in your research context. You can use the prior experiences of others to avoid common traps and pitfalls.
HOW CAN I WRITE A GOOD LITERATURE REVIEW?
You should use the literature to explain your research - after all, you are not writing a literature review just to show what other researchers have done. You aim should be to: 1. Show why your research needs to be carried out, 2. How you came to choose certain methodologies or theories to work with, 3. How your work adds to the research already carried out, etc.
Read with a purpose: you need to summarize the work you read but you must also decide which ideas or information are important to your research (so you can emphasize them), and