How to Write a Literature Review Part I

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How to Write a Literature Review:

How to Write a Literature Review NUR 4344 Theories & Research Kezia Lilly MBA HC, MSN, RN


Agenda What is a Literature Review 2. Let’s open up & find a topic 3. Looking for appropriate sources of information

What is a Literature Review?:

What is a Literature Review? A way to make connections between what you are investigating and what has already been investigated in your subject area A place to identify previous research on the topic A place to show there is a gap in the literature which your study can fill You are beginning your own investigation Remember you are only looking at what already exists, you are not doing research (one of the most common mistakes).

Showing a gap in the literature:

Showing a gap in the literature You can use the literature to support your identification of a problem to research and to illustrate that there is a gap in previous research which needs to be filled. Ridley, p. 2.

Beginning your own investigation:

Beginning your own investigation The literature review, therefore, serves as the driving force and jumping-off point for your own research investigation . Ridley, p. 2


Challenges “ Higher education courses seldom teach how to write a literature review, and good literature reviews are difficult for many beginning writers and researchers.” Maddux, C. D., & Liu, L. (2005). Publishing research findings: Some suggestions for junior faculty. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 1 (2) , 55-62. Problems identified by Maddox and Liu: 1. Some reviews consisted only of a largely unrelated annotated list of studies. 2. Many of the studies listed in the reviews were not relevant to the new study. 3. Many theories were mentioned or described in the reviews, but often without a clear, logical connection among the theories and without clearly pointing out the relevance of each description. (Maddox & Liu, 60).

Answering the challenges:

Answering the challenges Finding literature on your topic is only part of the process. What literature you do include must be relevant to your area of investigation. What pieces of the literature you do include must be logically connected to each other.

How to Begin? Finding Appropriate Sources of Information:

How to Begin? Finding Appropriate Sources of Information Know what is appropriate: Scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed material Material that presents empirical data/evidence to back up claims, not just opinions Material that presents an introduction, purpose, background literature, method, procedures, findings, discussion, implications, conclusion Know where to begin searching: Book catalogues Library databases

Use books as a beginning point:

Use books as a beginning point Why books first? They gather a lot of information on one topic in one place. They can provide a good overview or good background information on a topic. They often offer extensive bibliographies.


Searching Our library catalogue Go to Click on Academics Go to the Library Books @ Mobius or access e-Books Unsure how to search the library databases? Go to for tutorials on how to search our databases.

Frequently Asked “How To’s”:

Frequently Asked “How To’s ” Request a book through MOBIUS Renew a book Find journals, newspapers, & magazines Requesting articles through interlibrary loan Using EBSCO Using ebook

Look for journal articles second:

Look for journal articles second Journal articles discuss one perspective. Each article makes a unique contribution. Articles can supplement information found first in books. Articles can offer more up-to-date information.

Another beginning point:

Another beginning point Caveats: Google Scholar does not have nearly the number of publisher agreements as are available through our library databases.

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