Essay on Literature Review

2645 Words Jan 24th, 2016 11 Pages
What is a literature review? Put simply, it is an analysis of prior academic research so as to identify the who, what, where, and whys’ of the chosen topic area.
You may or may not have conducted what some academics call a preliminary study – a brief search into the existing academic work in your chosen topic. After all, for some students carrying out primary research it’s vital that their work has never been carried out before and these initial studies are crucial when identifying a unique topic for research.
In some subject areas, it may be difficult, if not impossible to identify areas for primary research and therefore a preliminary study may not be necessary (secondary research is usually carried out as a result).
Whatever the
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Many students use the literature review as a way of clarifying the aims and research questions of their dissertation, something that begins at the start of a research project. However, a critical review of the literature is an ongoing process. New research is continuously being published and as you delve deeper into your research topic, you should be prepared to add and update your literature review. See it as a work in progress throughout the length of the entire research project
Types of Literature Review

Systematic Reviews
Systematic reviews are reviews in which the evidence from a number of studies is gathered together in one report. The review pools and analyses all available data to assess the overall strength of the evidence2. Systematic methods are used to identify original research which is relevant to the review question. These primary studies are then evaluated to ensure they are methodologically and analytically robust. Studies that do not meet stringent quality criteria are excluded from the review. Reviewing only high quality studies that are relevant to your review question ensures that bias is minimized and reliable results are produced.

Systematic reviews are the most scientifically robust reviews and, as such, are regarded as the ‘gold standard’. However, it is not always appropriate to undertake a systematic review. For example, there may be insufficient numbers of primary studies (original research) available or the

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