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Com200: Communication Research - Ariyasriwatana: Home

What is a Literature Review?

So you've been asked to write a literature review. What next?

To get started, let's go over what a literature review does. Often, you will find a literature review section in a scholarly article. It's where the author details "what's out there". First, the authors look at the current scholarly literature on their paper topic. They read through them, then select a few which they believe are important to provide a good overview of what research has been done on their topic. In the literature review, they summarize the key points of the reviewed works, including the value they add to the conversation on their topic. 

The literature review can be organized chronologically by each work reviewed, or melded into a conversation by organizing by theme, by different trends, or by which method the studies used to conduct research.

If you were asked to write a literature review, it helps to think of it as something which could expand into being a part of something larger. If you can pick a topic that interests you, you could go on to use the literature review as a beginning part of your own scholarly paper someday. 

Types of Literature Review Articles

Narrative Review - assessment and summary of research completed on a specific topic

Systematic Review- assesses and summarizes research on a specifc topic using a standardized methodology to gather and evaluate the research studies

Meta-Synthesis- a qualitative review of research studies which synthesizes information from multiple studies on a specific topic

Meta-Analysis- a quantitative review of research studies which gathers together and analyzes data from multiple studies on a specifc topic

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