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A broad definition of the literature review is a narrative that contains information, ideas, data, and evidence in order to illustrate how a topic has been investigated and researched in the past.
Mapping a topic can be useful to acquire sufficient knowledge of the subject to develop the necessary understanding of methodology and research techniques, to comprehend the history and diffusion of interests in the topic, and to undertake an analytical evaluation of the main arguments, concepts, and theories relevant to the topic in order to synthesize from the analysis a unique analysis and synthesis.
Now all this brings us to the big question ‘what then is a literature review?
Academic research papers usually focus on developing a new argument and could contain a literature review as a part of it.
Of note, research papers use the literature as support for the new idea you'll come up with.
Though your focus should be on scholarly outlets such as journals, newspaper stories and some types of magazine (e.g.
) articles will often have thoughtful takes on a particular issue and therefore are useful to review as well, particularly at the beginning of the research process.
The literature review could also advise the reader on the most relevant concepts depending on the situation.
Literature reviews are different from other academic research papers.
However, literature reviews, focus on doing a summary and synthesis of other people's ideas without adding any new information.
Take your time and look for some of the literature reviews in your area of study and then read them carefully to get the idea of the assumptions and themes to help you organize and grasp how to format a literature review in your field of study.