Understanding the Purpose of a Literature Review

  • June 12, 2021

When researching a particular subject and writing a paper about it as a student, you will probably be asked to include a literature review in your research. Similarly, if you are in the business of selling products that for some reason have been subjected to previous research, to get your product legally approved for sale, you will have to present all the relevant findings. In either case, it's crucial to understand the exact purpose of a literature review, and this article can help you with that. Plus, you will find guidance about the different types of reviews that exist so you can find the one you actually need.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review obtains and analyzes all the relevant findings available in a specific field of research. This includes all the data that has been accumulated about the problem from the time it became a subject of any relevant research. And if any further research is necessary, the data collected from that should also be included in your review. An acceptable report includes all the relevant literature, whether or not the findings in those favor your research. Everything that's been accepted about the topic should be added to your review. This literature should include the current opinion about the subject and the probability of further research directions too. 

When choosing literature, you should only consider using knowledge published in books and academic journal articles. It's also important to remember to choose only the most relevant information. Adding everything you find in your report could present too much data to process. So if the subject has been widely researched before, you should limit yourself to the most important sources and main interests in your area of research.

The Purpose of a Literature Review

If you are conducting research, going through the previous findings in the same area could give you some pointers on which way to go with your study. By placing the results into different categories through a review, you can sort out which ones are relevant, which are controversial, and which ones could be disregarded in your case. This can help you identify if there is potential for future development, which, as you see when you click here, is the essential purpose of any literature review. Whether you are trying to uncover something new in a particular field of study or use previously collected data to place a potentially innovative product on the market, you must always have the relevant literature to back you up.

Regardless of the purpose of the literature review you are conducting, you will always need to justify your research by shoving the previous findings as well as your own if you have them. Plus, exploring the gap areas might give some new ideas to research. When doing that, you will also need to use the previous data to prove why your conclusions are different from all the other researches in the same field.

Types of Literature Reviews

In order to conduct the most successful analysis, you will have to understand the differences between the various types of reports. The most common types of literature reviews are as follows:

  • Argumentative: The purpose of this type is to acknowledge or refute any argument that has been settled beforehand. It establishes a collection of data that has a contrarian point of view.

  • Integrative: A study that creates new research topics in a particular field of interest by integrating all the previous data into one complex collection. This contains all the identical or even similar research problems to yours.

  • Methodological: Focusing on the various methods of the different researches, this review documents the different techniques researchers used during their project. It includes everything from drawing data to sampling and much more.

  • Historical: It examines the research done in the field over a certain period of time and traces its evolution meticulously by going over the findings throughout history.

  • Theoretical: This form of literary analysis is only concerned with collecting theoretical evidence and possibly proving a way to form new hypotheses to be tested in the future.

  • Systematically: Using some predetermined standards, this method identifies and examines any relevant research critically. Most useful to document and research a clearly defined issue.

The task of writing a literature review can be a little overwhelming, especially when you are faced with it for the first time. So, refer to this helpful guide to understand this process a little better. However, if you feel that you need to do a little more research, feel free to do so. Remember, it's always better to be prepared to do your job - even if it takes more time - than to rush into a project without doing your due diligence.

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