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Aug 31 2018

Introduction – Literature Reviews – GSU Library Research Guides at Georgia State University

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Literature Reviews: Introduction

A literature review.

  • Shares experts various thoughts, ideas and viewpoints about a topic within your field
  • Summarizes arguments from various sources pointing out strengths and weaknesses of their arguments
  • Sources may contradict each other
  • Presents a single thought, idea or argument about a topic
  • Explains or argues an idea using research that supports a single conclusion
  • Sources used generally support each other

An annotated bibliography.

  • Lists citations to books, articles, and documents with each citation followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph. See Purdue OWL for further information.

What is it That You Review?

  • The current status of the knowledge or research about a topic, question or field
  • The theoretical approach(es) used in studying this particular topic or question
  • The data collection tools and procedures used and their implications on the body of knowledge
  • The future direction(s) on a topic in terms of theory, methodology, questions for further study, and so on

Types of Literature Reviews

Traditional or narrative literature review

  • Critiques and summarizes a body of literature
  • Draws conclusions about the topic
  • Identifies gaps or inconsistencies in a body of knowledge
  • Requires a sufficiently focused research question

Systematic literature review

  • More rigorous and well-defined approach
  • Comprehensive
  • Published and unpublished studies relating to a particular subject area
  • Details the time frame within which the literature was selected
  • Details the methods used to evaluate and synthesize findings of the studies in question
  • A form of systematic review (reductive)
  • Takes findings from several studies on the same subject and analyzes them using standardized statistical procedures
  • Integrates findings from a large body of quantitative findings to enhance under-standing (study=unit of analysis)
  • Draws conclusions and detect patterns and relationships

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