Summarize individual studies or articles with as much or as little detail as each merits according to its comparative importance in the literature, remembering that space (length) denotes significance.Provide the reader with strong “umbrella” sentences at beginnings of paragraphs, “signposts” throughout, and brief “so what” summary sentences at intermediate points in the review to aid in understanding comparisons and analyses.The format of a review of literature may vary from discipline to discipline and from assignment to assignment.
Establish the writer’s reason (point of view) for reviewing the literature; explain the criteria to be used in analyzing and comparing literature and the organization of the review (sequence); and, when necessary, state why certain literature is or is not included (scope).
In the body, you should: Group research studies and other types of literature (reviews, theoretical articles, case studies, etc.) according to common denominators such as qualitative versus quantitative approaches, conclusions of authors, specific purpose or objective, chronology, etc.
You need to look for themes that several authors mention and discuss the ways the different authorities have tackled them.
Your literature review should be as comprehensive as possible, mentioning all the major theorists or writers in the field of your dissertation subject.
A review is a required part of grant and research proposals and often a chapter in theses and dissertations.
Generally, the purpose of a review is to analyze critically a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles.
Remember – a good literature review not only provides important background to your own dissertation writing, but also helps to show where your dissertation will fit into the field.
Paragraphs giving the title of each book and then summarising their contents do not constitute a literature review.
You need to give a strong idea of how the field lies, so don’t just mention each writer individually, but try to relate them to one another and compare their views to give an overview of the current arguments and which bodies of literature belong together.
It might be helpful to use subheadings or bullet points in your dissertation writing to clarify the different areas of theory and the positions of each writer.