A review of related literature is the process of collecting, selecting, and reading books, journals, reports, abstracts, and other reference materials. The following information may be collected: 1. Background information about the problem and related concepts. 2. Theories that explain the existence of the problem and the possible connection between certain factors and the problem 3. Data that confirms the existence and seriousness of the problem 4. General and specific findings of studies related to the problem 5. Recommendations for further study given in related studies Why Review Literature?
A review of related literature is a must in research. The following are some of the obvious reasons; 1. It helps the researcher identify and define a research problem 2. It helps justify the need for studying a problem.
3. It prevents unnecessary duplication of a study
4. It can be a source of a theoretical basis for the study
5. It enables the researcher to learn how to conceptualize a research problem and properly identify and operationally define study variables 6. It helps formulate and refine research instruments
7. It provides lesson for data analysis and interpretation. When to Start Reviewing Related Literature?
While the research problem is still being conceptualized, the researcher must already start reviewing literature. In identifying and defining the research problem, the researcher must be able to show evidences that the problem really exists and is worth investigating. It is important that the researcher knows what is already known about the problem or what earlier researchers have found about it and what questions still need to be answered before the research questions or objectives are finalized.
Theories which the researchers use to explain the existence of a research problem and used as bases in analyzing relationships between variables can be generated from reference books on theories or from related studies. The researcher therefore, must have already read adequate literature at the start of the research activity. What Materials to Review?
1. General References
Examples are indexes, reviews and abstracts
2. Primary Sources
Examples are researches found on published journals.
3. Secondary Sources
Publications where authors cite the works of others. Examples are books, encyclopedias. Secondary sources are good references for overview of the problem. Steps In Literature Review
1. Review the precise definition of the research problem. Note the key variables specified in the study objectives and hypothesis. 2. Formulate “search terms” (key words or phrases)
Problem: Adolescents’ Perceptions on the Effect of Punishment on Self-Esteem and Academic Performance”
Search term: “punishment and learning”, “self-esteem and performance” 3. Using indexes of general references, serach for relevant primary and secondary sources guided by the search terms. 4. List in a note of index card the bibliographical data of the pertinent information selected as follows: a. author
c. name of publication
d. date of publication (include place and date)
e. pages of the article
5. Read the selected reading materials, take note and summarize key points. Prepare a note card for easy retrieval and classification. In taking note, be as brief as possible but include all relevant information which you can use in your full review, such as : the problem, theobjectives, and hypotheses, the major findings, and conclusions.
A Literature Review Is Not:
- just a summary of sources
- a grouping of broad, unrelated sources
- a compilation of everything that has been written on a particular topic
- literature criticism (think English) or a book review
So, what is it then?
A literature review is an integrated analysis-- not just a summary-- of scholarly writings that are related directly to your research question. That is, it represents the literature that provides background information on your topic and shows a correspondence between those writings and your research question.
A literature review may be a stand alone work or the introduction to a larger research paper, depending on the assignment. Rely heavily on the guidelines your instructor has given you.
Why is it important?
A literature review is important because it:
- Explains the background of research on a topic.
- Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area.
- Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
- Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
- Identifies critical gaps and points of disagreement.
- Discusses further research questions that logically come out of the previous studies.