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1. Reasons for Doing a Literature Review
- Class assignment
- Thesis for a master's degree
- Foundation for a doctoral dissertation
2. Purposes of a Literature Review
Hart (1998) identifies the following purposes, which are not ranked in order of importance, since no one purpose is seen as being of greater significance than another:
- distinguishing what has been done from what needs to be done;
- discovering important variables relevant to the topic;
- synthesizing and gaining a new perspective;
- identifying relationships between ideas and practice;
- establishing the context of the topic or problem;
- rationalizing the significance of the problem;
- enhancing and acquiring the subject vocabulary;
- understanding the structure of the subject;
- relating ideas and theory to applications;
- identifying the main methodologies and research techniques that have been used;
- placing the research in a historical context to show familiarlity with state-of-the-art developments.
(Hart, 1998, p. 27)
3. Components of a Literature Review
1. Problem formulation
- What is the topic being examined?
- What are the component issues?
2. Literature search
- To identify materials relevant to the topic
3. Data evaluation
- To identify which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic
4. Analysis and interpretation
- Discussion of the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature