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If you haven’t been given a formal reference list by your tutor, refer back to the techniques we recommended earlier.Make sure that your sources are balanced; include enough books and academic journals and any useful published work from reputable scholars.
During the second stage of your reading, you can then take a more critical, in-depth look at your sources. When writing a dissertation literature review, an essential thing to consider is identifying the research gap.
Identifying the gap is particularly important if your review forms part of a research proposal, as it will highlight the pertinence of your research – assuming that your research has been designed to fill this gap.
Having a quick scan of the abstract and its ‘keywords’ will often give you an indication of the whether the source will be useful for your research or not.
As you’re identifying your sources, ensure you a keep a list as it’s very easy to lose focus given the wide scope of the Internet.
A research gap is essentially the existence of a research question, perspective or problem that has not been answered in the existing literature on any field of study.
Identifying the research gap is important for highlighting the originality of your research; it proves you’re not simply recounting or regurgitating existing research.
Whereas a summary will most likely provide a simple recap of the general arguments of the source(s), the expectations concerning a literature review extend beyond this.
A literature review may provide a new perspective on a classic research paper or it may combine both new and old interpretations (this is the “gap” – more on this later).
In other instances, identifying the gap is an indication of good critical analysis and can score you extra points.
To identify the “gap” it is important that we know what this “gap” is.