Writing a literature review in qualitative research
A conceptual diagram of the need for different types of literature reviews depending on the amount of published research papers and literature reviews. The bottom-right situation many literature reviews but few research papers is not just a theoretical situation; it applies, for example, to the study of the impacts of climate change on plant diseases, where there appear to be more literature reviews than research studies . When searching the literature for pertinent click at this page and reviews, the usual rules apply: Take Notes While Reading If you read the papers first, and only afterwards start writing the review, you will need a very good memory to remember who wrote what, and what your impressions and associations were while reading each single paper.
My advice is, while reading, to start writing down interesting pieces of information, insights about how to organize the review, read more thoughts on what to write. This way, by the time you have read the literature you selected, you will already have a rough draft of the review.
Of course, this draft will still need much rewriting, restructuring, and rethinking to obtain a text with a coherent argument but you will have avoided the danger posed by staring at a blank document. Be careful when taking notes to use quotation marks if you are provisionally copying verbatim from the literature. It is advisable then to reformulate such quotes with your own words in the final draft. It is important to be careful in noting the references already at this stage, so as to avoid misattributions.
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Using referencing software from the very beginning of your endeavour will save you time. Choose the Type of Review You Wish to Write After having taken notes while reading the literature, you will have a rough idea of the amount of material available for the review. This is probably a good time to decide whether to go for a mini- or a full review. Some journals are now favouring the publication of rather short reviews focusing on the last few years, with a limit on the number of words and click. A mini-review is not necessarily a minor review: There is probably a continuum between mini- and full reviews.
The same point applies to the dichotomy of descriptive vs. While descriptive reviews focus on the methodology, findings, and interpretation of each reviewed study, integrative reviews attempt to find common ideas and concepts from the reviewed material . A similar distinction exists between narrative and systematic reviews: When systematic reviews analyse quantitative results in a quantitative way, they become meta-analyses.
The choice between different review types will have to be made on a case-by-case basis, depending not just on the nature of the material found and the preferences of the target journal sbut also on the time available to write the review and the number of coauthors . Keep the Review Focused, but Make It of Broad Interest Whether your plan is to write a mini- or a full review, it is good advice to keep it focused 16 Including material just for the sake of it can easily lead to reviews that are trying to do too many things at once.
The need to read article a review focused can be problematic for interdisciplinary reviews, where the aim is to bridge the gap between fields . If you are writing a review on, for example, how epidemiological approaches are used in modelling the spread of ideas, you may be inclined to include material from both parent fields, epidemiology and the study of cultural diffusion.
This may be necessary to some extent, but in this case a focused review would only deal in detail with those studies at the interface between epidemiology and the spread of ideas. While focus is an important feature of a successful review, this requirement has to be balanced with the need to make the review relevant to a broad audience.
This square may be circled by discussing the wider implications of the reviewed topic for other disciplines. Be Critical and Consistent Reviewing the literature is not stamp collecting. A good review does not just summarize the literature, but discusses it critically, identifies methodological problems, and points out research gaps .
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After having read a review of the literature, a reader should have a rough idea of: It is challenging to achieve a successful review on article source these fronts. A solution can be to involve a set of complementary coauthors: If your journal club has exactly this sort of team, then you should definitely write a review of the literature!
In addition to critical thinking, a literature review needs consistency, for example in the choice of passive vs. Find a Logical Structure Like a well-baked cake, a good review has a number of telling features: It also needs a good structure. With reviews, the usual subdivision of research papers into introduction, methods, results, and discussion does not work or is rarely used.
- Having a lot of literature to report on can feel overwhelming.
- A good place to start is with a keyword search, which allows you to combine concepts, such as social class and education, or women and drug abuse.
- While focus is an important feature of a successful review, this requirement has to be balanced with the need to make the review relevant to a broad audience.
However, a general introduction of the context and, toward the end, a recapitulation of the main points covered and take-home messages make sense also in the case of reviews. For systematic reviews, there is a trend towards including information about how the literature was searched database, keywords, time limits .
How can you organize the flow of the main body of the review so that the reader will be drawn into and review qualitative through it? It is generally helpful to draw a conceptual scheme of the review, link. Such diagrams can help recognize a logical way to order and link the various sections of a review . This is the case not just at the writing stage, but also for readers if the diagram is included in the review as a figure.
A careful selection of diagrams and figures relevant to the reviewed topic can be very helpful to structure the text too . Make Use of Feedback Reviews of the literature are normally peer-reviewed in the same way as research papers, and rightly so . As a rule, incorporating feedback from reviewers greatly helps improve a review draft. Having read the review with a fresh mind, reviewers may spot inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and ambiguities that had not been noticed by the writers due to rereading the typescript too many times.
It is however advisable to reread the draft one more time before submission, as a last-minute correction of typos, leaps, and muddled sentences may enable the reviewers to focus on providing advice on the content rather than the form. Feedback is vital to writing a good review, and should be sought from a variety of colleagues, so as to obtain a diversity of views on the draft.
It can give revjew a degree of control, in what can feel like an overwhelming and uncontrollable stage of the research process. Literatur is the case not just at the writing stage, but also for readers if the diagram is included in the review as a figure. Often, the literature review will end with a statement of the research question s. What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define? Dec 8, 3: Increasingly, examiners at post-graduate level are looking for the writing a literature review in qualitative research of how you chose which evidence you decided to refer to. The need to keep a review focused can be problematic for interdisciplinary reviews, where the aim is to bridge the gap between fields . What is the scope of my literature literatyre
This may lead in some cases to conflicting views on the merits of the paper, and on how to improve it, but such a situation is better than the absence of feedback. A diversity of feedback perspectives on a literature review can help identify where the consensus view stands in see more landscape of the current scientific understanding of an issue .
Include Your Own Relevant Research, but Here Objective In many cases, reviewers of the literature will have published studies relevant to the review they are writing. This could create a conflict of interest: Some scientists may be overly enthusiastic about what they have published, and thus risk giving too much importance to their own findings in the review. However, bias could also occur in my term paper warehouse other direction: In general, a review of the literature should neither be a public relations brochure nor an exercise in competitive self-denial.
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If a reviewer is up to the job of producing a well-organized and methodical review, which flows well and provides a service to the readership, then it should be possible to be objective in reviewing one's own relevant findings. In reviews written by multiple authors, this may be achieved by assigning the review of the results of a coauthor to different coauthors. Be Up-to-Date, but Do Not Forget Older Studies Given the progressive acceleration in the publication of scientific papers, today's reviews of the literature need awareness not just of the overall direction and achievements of a field of inquiry, but also of the latest studies, so as not to become out-of-date before they have been published.
This implies that literature reviewers would do well to keep an eye on electronic lists of papers in press, given that it can take months before these appear in scientific databases. Some reviews declare that they have scanned the literature up to a certain point in time, but given that peer review can be a rather lengthy process, a full search for newly appeared literature at the revision stage explore biology lab report example the be worthwhile.
Assessing the contribution of papers that have just appeared is particularly challenging, because there is little perspective with which to gauge their significance and impact on further research and society. Inevitably, new papers on the reviewed topic including independently written literature reviews will appear from all quarters after the review has been published, so that there may soon be the need for an updated review.
Referencing and bibliographiesAvoiding plagiarismWriting a dissertationWhat is critical reading? A solution can be to involve a set of complementary coauthors: The process of conducting and reporting your literature review can help you clarify your own thoughts about your study. This may be necessary to some extent, but in this case a focused review would only deal in detail with those qualitatibe at the interface between epidemiology and the spread of ideas. In reviews written by multiple authors, this may be achieved by assigning the review of the results of a resesrch to different coauthors. Rudestam and Newton
But this is the nature of science  — . I wish everybody good luck with writing a review of the literature. Acknowledgments Many thanks to M. Xu for insights and discussions, and to P. Smith for helpful comments on a previous draft. Rapple C The role of the critical review article in alleviating information overload. Annual Reviews White Paper. Pautasso M Worsening file-drawer problem in the abstracts of natural, medical and social science databases.