Literature Review -Meaning, examples and 5 steps in writing literature review


Literature Review -Meaning and examples of literature review


A literature review is an important part of research work. In fact, it is the life of the research project. No research can be accepted without a Literature review.

Other parts of research like abstract, introduction, a background to the study, statement of the problem, aims and objectives of the study, theoretical framework, methodology, significance and organization of the study are necessary. The literature review is the most important part.

Definition of Literature Review

Jennifer Cady defines literature review in two levels: a process and a product. A literature review as a product is descriptive, an analytic summary of the existing material relating to a particular topic or area of study. The literature review as a process involves a systematic examination of prior scholarly works.

A literature review is a detailed account of relevant materials being investigated in order to know what researchers have done and how, and where they were executed. A literature review helps the researcher to know the lacuna and how the present study will be different from the previous ones.

A literature review shows your readers that you have an in-depth grasp of your subject; and that you understand where your own research fits into and adds to an existing body of agreed knowledge.

Recommended: Literature -Definition, sources, 7 functions, types and branches of literature

Reasons for a Literature Review:

The following are reasons why research should have a review.

  1. It gives credit and acknowledgement to those who laid foundational work for the researcher.
  2. It demonstrates the researcher’s understanding of the topic.
  3. It shows the researcher’s ability to evaluate the relevant information critically.
  4. It helps to establish a need for a researcher the identified gap to be filled.
  5. It helps to clarify the research problem.
  6. Literature review helps to demonstrate a researcher’s familiarity with the area under consideration in terms of the theories, methods and approaches to data analysis.
  7. Literature review convinces the readers that the proposed research will make significance as well as substantial contribution to the literature.
  8. Literature review makes the reader know that you are not replicating or copying research that others have already successfully completed.
  9. It helps the researcher in the development of new ideas.

Also See: Literature Fiction

Steps in writing a good literature review

  1. Search for relevant literature. For instance, if the topic is Social support and quality of life of patient living with HIV/AIDS, you will find researches on social support, Stigmatisation, Living with HIV/AIDS and Patient care. These materials can be gotten from the library and online.
  2. Evaluate and select the sources. Take time to select only materials relevant to the topic you are writing on. Check out for the theories, methodology, strength and weakness of the research.
  3. Identify themes, debates and gaps. After selecting and evaluating, you locate the gap or questions that your research will answer.
  4. Outline the structure
  5. Write your literature review.

Example of Literature Review

This review is gotten from a research work titled “Contemporary Issues” in Daniel Inyang’s Revolt of the Hoi Polloi and Henry Ayodeji’s The Adventurers.

Literature review on Daniel Inyang’s Revolt of the Hoi Polloi
Contemporary issues are numerous Oleoluwa Runsewe stars that critical issues facing Nigeria include: corruption, unemployment among others.

Igbarman Otarok says contemporary challenges include: poverty, hunger, unemployment, corruption, free fair and credible elections. In addition, Uzochukwu Mike says Nigeria’s problems include: corruption, unemployment, poor educational system, the environment and poor infrastructure.

However, building on Runsewe, Otarok and Mike’s opinion, this research will explore contemporary issues like corruption, unemployment, poverty, poor educational system, poor infrastructure among others in Inyang’s Revolt of the Hoi Polloi.

Dickson in his review argues that: “the play periscopes democratic leadership in Nigeria since 1999…”. He also relates the play to works in the 70s and 80s; a historical view. Diverting from the historical view of Inyang’s Revolt of the Hoi Polloi, this research will relate the text to Nigeria of today.

Furthermore, Dickson affirms that revolt is the only way of changing bad leadership. He says: Revolution here may not necessarily involve the extreme violence and bloodletting that have been a witness in Ben-Ali’s Tunisia, Hosini Mubarak’s Egypt and Muarma Gaddafi’s Libya”.

This suggestion is relevant to this research because of the revolution. Therefore, adding to this knowledge, this research will explore the concept of revolt in Revolt of the Hoi Polloi.

Igbaji Ugabi Chinwendu, from Cross River State, Nigeria. As a Business Educator, he is profoundly interested in teaching and managing business. Started blogging 2010 and officially 2013. He holds the esteemed positions of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director at Freemanbiz Communication and Writers King LTD, demonstrating his leadership and expertise in the field.

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