Scientific knowledges changes rapidly and is largely interactive. In research fields that are large and dynamic it can be hard for academics to keep up with every bit of new research that emerges. Literature reviews are an important way that academics keep abreast of debates, developments and new findings in their field.
If you are asked to write a literature review as a part of your course it is an excellent opportunity to show that you are able to overview, synthesise and critique important research in your field!
A literature review should clearly present a topic or problem and the range of research that addresses it. It should evaluate the individual contributions of important papers and draw connections between them in order to offer ideas about the ‘state’ of the research field in general.
Your review can be organised in a number of different ways:
- General to specific
- Chronological order
- By method
- Any other element common to each paper