Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?
" This type of literature review is primarily applied to examining prior research studies in clinical medicine and allied health fields, but it is increasingly being used in the social sciences.
Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems. Use the exercise of reviewing the literature to examine how authors in your discipline or area of interest have composed their literature review sections.
The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework. Problem formulation -- which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues? Literature search -- finding materials relevant to the subject being explored. Data evaluation -- determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic. Analysis and interpretation -- discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature. What types of sources should I review (books, journal articles, websites; scholarly versus popular sources)? Should I summarize, synthesize, or critique sources by discussing a common theme or issue? Read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or to identify ways to organize your final review.Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis].Reviewing methods of analysis provides a framework of understanding at different levels [i.e.Theoretical Review The purpose of this form is to examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena.The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Should I provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history?The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint.Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse.This is the most common form of review in the social sciences.Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent.A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information in a way that informs how you are planning to investigate a research problem.The analytical features of a literature review might: It is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers.