Literature review in research


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Literature review in research

  1. 1. MR. JAYESH
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Review of literature is one of the most importantsteps in the research process. It is an account of what is already known about aparticular phenomenon. The main purpose of literature review is to conveyto the readers about the work already done & theknowledge & ideas that have been alreadyestablished on a particular topic of research. Literature review is a laborious task, but it isessential if the research process is to
  3. 3. MEANING OF LITERATUREREVIEW A literature review uses as its database reports ofprimary or original scholarship & does not reportnew primary scholarship itself. The primary reportsused in the literature may be verbal, but in the vastmajority of cases, report are written documents. Thetypes of scholarship may be empirical, theoretical,critical/analytic, or methodological in nature.Second a literature review seeks to describe,summarize, evaluate, clarify &/or integrate thecontent of primary reports.…(H.M. Cooper, 1988)
  4. 4. Count…• A literature review is an evaluative report of informationfound in the literature related to selected area of study. Thereview describes, summarizes, evaluates & clarifies thisliterature. It gives a theoretical base for the research & helpsto determine the nature of research.…(Queensland University, 1999)• A literature review is a body of text that aims to review thecritical points of knowledge on a particular topic of research.…(ANM, 2000)• A literature review is an account of what has been alreadyestablished or published on a particular research topic byaccredited scholars & researchers.…(University of Toronto, 2001)
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  6. 6. Identification of a research problem & development orrefinement of research questions.Generation of useful research questions orprojects/activities for the discipline.Orientation to what is known & not known about anarea of inquiry to ascertain what research can bestcontribute to knowledge.Determination of any gaps or inconsistencies in a bodyof knowledge.Discovery of unanswered questions about subjects,concepts or problems.Determination of a need to replicate a prior study indifferent study settings or different samples or size ordifferent study
  7. 7. Count…Identification of relevant theoretical or conceptualframework for research problems.Identification or development of new or refinedclinical interventions to test through empiricalresearch.Description of the strengths & weaknesses ofdesign/methods of inquiry & instruments used inearlier research work.Development of hypothesis to be tested in a researchstudy.Helps in planning the methodology of the presentresearch study.It also helps in development of research instruments.Identification of suitable design & data collectionmethods for a research
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  9. 9. The purpose of a literature review is to convey tothe reader previous knowledge & facts establishedon a topic, & their strength & weakness.The literature review allows the reader to beupdated with the state of research in a field & anycontradictions that may exist with challengesfindings of other research studies.It helps to develop research investigative tools & toimprove research methodologies.It also provide the knowledge about the problemsfaced by the previous researchers’ while studyingsame topic.Besides enhancing researchers’ knowledge aboutthe topic, writing a literature review helps
  10. 10. Count…Place each in the context of its contribution to theunderstanding of subject under review.Describe the relationship of each study to otherresearch studies under consideration.Identify new ways to interpret & shed light on anygaps in previous research.Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictoryprevious studies.Identify areas of prior scholarship to preventduplication of effort.Point a way forward for further research.See what has & has not been
  11. 11. Count…Develop general explanation for observed variationsin a behavior or phenomenon.Identify potential relationship between concepts & toidentify researchable hypothesis.Learn how others have defined & measured keyconcepts.Identify data sources that other researchers haveused.Develop alternative research projects.Discover how a research project is related to thework of others.Place one’s original work (in case of thesis ordissertation) context of the existing
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  13. 13. Literature can be reviewed from twosources:1. Primary sources2. Secondary
  14. 14. 1. Primary Sources Literature review mostly relies on primary sources,i.e. research reports, which are description of studieswritten by researchers who conducted them. A primary sources is written by a person whodeveloped the theory or conducted the research, or isthe description of an investigation written by theperson who conducted it. Most primary sources are found in publishedliterature. For example, a nursing research article. A credible literature review reflects the use of mainlyprimary sources.Example of a primary source: An original qualitative onpatient experiences in the ICU: Hupcey, J. E. (2000). Feelingsafe the psychosocial needs of ICU patients. Journal ofNursing Scholarship,
  15. 15. 2. Secondary Sources Secondary source research documents aredescription of studies prepared by someone otherthan the original researcher. They are written by people other than theindividuals who developed the theory or conductedthe research. The secondary sources may be used whenprimary sources are not available or if researcherswant external opinions on an issue or problem oreven the results of their own research.Example of a Secondary Source: A literature review onpatient experiences in the ICU: Stein-Parbury, J. & Mckinley,S. (2000) patient experiences of being in an intensive careunit: a select literature review. American Journal of criticalcare,
  16. 16. ResourcesofliteraturereviewEncyclopedia&dictionaryElectronicdatabaseBooksJournalsConferencepapersThesesResearchReportsMagazines&
  17. 17. 1. Electronic Sources:Computer-assisted literature search hasrevolutionized the review of literature.These searches, however, for a variety ofreasons may not provide the desiredreferences.Electronic literature search through web maybe very useful, but sometimes it can be timeconsuming & unpredictable because there aremany website & web pages that can lead toinformation overload & confusion.however, currently it is one of the
  18. 18. Count…General literature search can be conductedthrough search engines like Yahoo(, Google(, MSN search, Lycos,WebCrawler, Alta Vista, or Excite.The most relevant nursing databases are asfollows:CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & AlliedHealth Literature): Accessible at, it citations of nursingliterature published after 1988. Even full-textarticles are available on CINAHL plus, a paid webpage.PubMed: PubMed can be used to search researchabstracts, available at
  19. 19. Count…MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis &Retrieved System Online): It is another electronicsource of literature review commonly used bynurses. The National Library of Medicine providesfree access to MEDLINE through PubMed, availableat or generally,abstracts of research articles are provided free ofcost; some of the full-text copies are also freelyavailable & some others are available for a free.Cochrane Database of System Reviews: Healthcare-related literature can be searched from thissource, available at The ERIC database is the largest source ofeducation information. A free search may be
  20. 20. count,…Registry of Nursing Research: Sigma Theta TauInternational Honor Society of Nursing makes thisdatabase available through its Virginia HendersonInternational Nursing Library. Access to thisdatabase has been redesigned & made easier forusers to obtain evidence & scientific findings frommore than 2,200 research article & conferenceabstracts. The research abstracts are searched viakey words, author, & title of the research study.Free access to this database may be found athttp://www.nursinglibrary.orgpsycINFO: The psycINFO database belongs to AmericanPsychological Association, & covers literature frompsychological or related disciplines. It may be searched
  21. 21. Count…Online Journals: Following are the website addresses forjournals & magazines that are available online:
  22. 22. Count…Other online databases: Many other online database can besearched for free by nurses from the following websites: (HIV/AIDS information) (information on hazardousagents) (combined health informationdatabase) (toxicology database network)Cancer Lit (Cancer literature)EMBASE (exerpta Medica Database)ETOH (Alcohol & alcohol problems science database)Health STAR (Health services technology administration& research)Radix (Nursing managed care databse)CD-ROM (Compact disc-read only memory) with
  23. 23. 2. Printed Sources: Printed sources are also used for literature review. Printed research summary may be located frompublished abstracts such as Nursing ResearchAbstract, Psychological Abstracts, Dissertation AbstractInternational, Masters Abstract International, etc. References of the other printed sources may be locatedthrough indexes such as cumulative Index to Nursing &Allied Health Literature, Nursing Studies Index, & IndexMedicus. Following are the main printed sources that can beused to review the relevant literature:Journals: There are several National & Internationaljournals which can be used to review the
  24. 24. Count…Name of national nursingjournals Nursing & MidwiferyResearch Journal Indian journal of NursingResearch & Midwifery The nursing Journal ofIndia Nightingale NursingTimes International Journal ofNursing Education Indian Journal of NursingStudiesNames of international journals Nursing Research Research in Nursing & Health Nursing Sciences Quarterly Western Journal of NursingResearch Applied Nursing Research Biological Research for Nursing Advances in Nursing Sciences Clinical Nursing Research Worldviews on Evidence-BasedNursing Journal of Qualitative Research American Journal of
  25. 25. Count…Research reportsUnpublished dissertations & thesesMagazines & newspapersConference papers & proceedingsEncyclopedias &
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  28. 28. Stage I – Annotated Bibliography At this stage, researchers read articles,books & other types of literature related to thetopic of research & write a brief criticalsynopsis of each review. After going through the reading list,researchers will have an annotation of eachsource of related literature. Later, annotations are likely to include morereferences of other work since previousreadings will be available to compare, but atthis point the important goal is to get
  29. 29. Stage II – Thematic Organization At this stage, researchers try to find commonthemes of research topic & organize theliterature under these themes, subthemes, orcategories. Here, researchers try to organize literatureunder themes, which relate to each other &are arranged in a chronological manner. Researchers try to establish coherencebetween themes & literature discussed undertheses
  30. 30. Stage III – More Reading Based on the knowledge gained through primaryreading, researchers have a better understanding aboutthe research topic & the literature related to it. At this stage, researchers try to discover specificliterature materials relevant to the field of study orresearch methodologies which are more relevant fortheir research. They look for more literature by those authors, on thosemethodologies, etc. Also, the researchers may be able to set aside someless relevant areas or articles which they pursuedinitially. They integrate the new readings into their literaturereview draft, reorganize themes, & read more
  31. 31. Stage IV – Write IndividualSections At this stage, researchers start writing the literatureunder each thematic section by using previouslycollected draft of annotations. Here they organize the related articles under eachtheme by ensuring that every article is related toeach other. Furthermore, related articles may be groupedtogether by ensuring the coherence betweendifferent segments of the literature abstracts. For each thematic sections, draft annotations areused (it is a good idea to reread the articles & reviseannotations, especially the ones read initially) towrite a section which discusses the articles
  32. 32. Count… While writing reviews, the researchers focus onthe theme of that section, showing how thearticles relate to each other & to the theme,rather than focusing on writing each individualarticle. The articles are used as evidence to support thecritique of the theme rather than using the themeas an angle to discuss each article
  33. 33. Stage V – Integrate Sections In this section, researchers have a list ofthe thematic sections & they tie themtogether with an introduction, conclusion, &some additions & revisions in the sectionsto show how they relate to each other & tothe overall
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  36. 36. Writing the Introduction…While writing the introduction, following steps shouldbe taken care of:Define or identify the general topic, issue, or area ofconcern, thus, providing appropriate context forreviewing the literature.Point out overall trends in what has been publishedabout the topic or conflicts in theory, methodology,evidence, & conclusion or gaps in research &scholarship, or a single problem or new perspectiveof immediate interest.Establish the writer’s point of view for reviewing theliterature, explain the criteria to be used in analyzing& comparing literature & organization or
  37. 37. Writing the Body…Following measures need to be undertaken while writingthe body of the literature. Group research studies & other types of literature(reviews, theoretical articles, case studies) according tocommon denominators such as qualitative versusquantitative approaches, conclusions of authors, specificpurposes or objectives, chronology, & so on. Summarize individual studies or articles with as much asor as little detail as each merits according to itscomparative importance in the literature, rememberingthat space denotes significance. Assist the reader with strong ‘umbrella sentences at thebeginning of paragraphs, signpost throughout, & brief‘so what’ summary sentences at intermediate points
  38. 38. Writing the Conclusion…The points to be taken care of in the conclusion areas follows: Summarize major contributions of significantstudies & articles to the body of knowledge underreview, maintaining the focus established in theintroduction. Evaluate the current ‘state of the art’ for the body ofknowledge reviewed, pointing out majormethodological flaws or gaps in research,inconsistencies in theory, & finding & areas orissues pertinent to future study. Conclude by providing some insight into therelationship between central topic of the
  39. 39. Example…Sexual harassment has many consequences. Adams, Kottke, & Padgitt (1983)found that some women students said that they avoided taking a class or workingwith certain professors because of the risk of harassment. They also found that men& women students reacted differently. Their research was conducted through asurvey of 1,000 men & women graduate & undergraduate students. Benson &Thomson’s study in social Problem (1982) lists many problems created by sexualharassment. In their excellent book, the Lecherous Professor, Dziech & Weiner(1990) give a long list of difficulties that victims have suffered.The victims of sexual harassment suffer a range of consequences, from loweredself-esteem & loss of self-confidence to withdrawal from social interaction,changed career goals, & depression (Adams, Kottke, & Padgitt, 1983; Benson &Thomson, 1982; Dziech & Weiner, 1990). For example, Adams, Kottke, & Padgitt(1983) noted that 13% of women students said that they avoided taking a class orworking with certain professors because of the risk of harassment.Example of a badreviewExample of a better
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  41. 41. Be specific & be succinct:Briefly state specific findings listed in an article,specific methodologies used in a study, or other important points.Literature reviews are not the place for long quotes or in-depthanalysis of each point.Be selective:Researcher should narrow down a lot of information into asmall space for literature review. Just the most important points(i.e. those most relevant to the review’s focus) must be mentionedin each work of review.Focus of current topics:Researcher needs to analyse points such as if it is acurrent article, & if not, how old it is: has its claims, evidence, orarguments been superseded by more recent work; if it is notcurrent, then if it is important for historical background ;
  42. 42. Count…Ensure evidence for claims:Researcher should focus on what support is given forclaims made in literature. What evidence & what type(experimental, statistical, anecdotal, etc.) of evidences areoffered? Is the evidence relevant & sufficient? Whatarguments are given? What assumptions are made, & are theywarranted?Focus on sources of evidences:Researchers should ensure the reliability of the sourcesof the evidence or other information – if they are fromauthor’s own experiments, surveys, historical records,government documents, etc. He should check how reliablethose sources
  43. 43. Count…Account of contrary evidences:Does the author take into account contrary or conflictingevidence & arguments? How does the author address disagreementswith other researchers?Reference citation:Any references cited in the literature review must be includedin the bibliography. The common practice is that the reviewer doesnot list references in the bibliography that are not directly cited inthe literature review or elsewhere in the paper /thesis.Avoid abbreviations:Avoid technical terms, jargons & abbreviations.Simple & accurate sentence structure:A researcher should use simple sentences & mustavoid errors of grammar &
  44. 44. Count…www.drjayeshpatidar.blogspot.comOrganization of literature review:A literature review is organized by subtopic, not by individualreferences. In a typical literature review, the writers may citeseveral references in the same paragraph & may cite the samereference in more than one paragraph, if that source address morethan one of the subtopics in the literature review. Typically,discussion of each sources is quite brief. The contribution thepresent reviewers make is organizing the ideas from the sourcesinto a cogent argument or narrative that includes their perspectives.Referring original source:The reviewer should focus on citing the material thatoriginates with each reference. This may require a careful readingof the reference. If the reference author refers to another sourcewhose ideas are relevant or interesting, it is better to track & usethat original reference.
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