The Step-by-Step Approach: Guidelines to writing a Literature Review

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The Step-by-Step Approach: Guidelines to writing a Literature Review

Globally, students and researchers alike are presented with the task of developing a literature review. This process may seem daunting to the inexperienced writer, however, there is no need for trial and error as there are known procedures and guidelines created to simplify such an assignment. A basic literature review may be defined as “A written document that develops a case to establish a thesis. This review synthesizes current knowledge pertaining to the research question (Machi & McEvoy, 2012)”. A literature a review is an organized way to research a topic and is considered the foundation of a research study (Polit & Beck, 2013). According to Lawrence A. Machi and Brenda T. McEvoy (2012), the purpose of a literature review depends on the nature of the inquiry. Basic literature reviews summarize and evaluate topics that have been previously explored. Advanced literature reviews are slightly more demanding because they apply the knowledge gathered from a basic literature review and incorporate that knowledge as a basis for formulating a new question and original research.

Machi and McEvoy (2012), authors of The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success describe the following six steps to the literature review process— 1. Select a Topic, 2. Search the Literature, 3. Develop the Argument, 4. Survey the Literature, 5. Critique the Literature, 6. Write the Review. This paper will describe and evaluate the steps involved in writing a literature review.

The first step in conducting a literature review is selecting a topic. Selecting a topic of discussion requires at least two tasks. First, find a personal interest. Most research topics are based upon everyday co...

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...n the review, following these steps should conclude in a literature review that highlights the significant aspects of a topic in a logical order that allows the reader to understand the context and relation to a research question (Polit & Beck, 2013).


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