Similarities and Differences of Review of Related Literature and Review of Related Studies
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Similarities and Differences of Review of Related Literature and Review of Related Studies
Educational research means the organized collection and examination of the data related to education. It is a scientific study that examines the learning and teaching methods for better understanding of the education system. It is an observation and investigation in the field of education. Research is done in search of new knowledge or to use the existing knowledge in a better way. It helps to acquire useful knowledge and solve the challenges faced in education. Research tries to get a better understanding of education.
Literature review means the overview of the works published previously on a subject matter. It is the summary of the work done by other authors on a topic. Literature review will help a researcher in understanding how to carry on the research and what needs to be covered.
Similarities between Review of Related Literature and Review of Related Studies
i). Both RRL and RRS is done to understand a subject matter extensively.
ii). Help an individual to understand their topic of interest in-depth.
iii). To understand what has already been discovered about a topic and what needs to be researched further.
Differences of Review of Related Literature and Review of Related Studies
i). Related literature is done from books, professional journals, newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Related studies consist of theses, manuscripts, and dissertations.
ii). After literature review, the individual tries to develop his/her own opinion on the topic. Review of related studies is obtaining answers from what has been studied.
iii). Related literature focuses on the opinions and ideas of one’s own on a particular topic. Related studies analyze the work of other researchers and focus on the results received by them.
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- How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.
What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .
There are five key steps to writing a literature review:
- Search for relevant literature
- Evaluate sources
- Identify themes, debates, and gaps
- Outline the structure
- Write your literature review
A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.
Table of contents
What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.
- Quick Run-through
- Step 1 & 2
When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:
- Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
- Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
- Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
- Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
- Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.
Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.
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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.
- Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
- Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
- Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
- Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)
You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.
Download Word doc Download Google doc
Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .
If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .
Make a list of keywords
Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.
- Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
- Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
- Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth
Search for relevant sources
Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:
- Your university’s library catalogue
- Google Scholar
- Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
- Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
- EconLit (economics)
- Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)
You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.
Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.
You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.
For each publication, ask yourself:
- What question or problem is the author addressing?
- What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
- What are the key theories, models, and methods?
- Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
- What are the results and conclusions of the study?
- How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?
Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.
You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.
Take notes and cite your sources
As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.
It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.
To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:
- Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
- Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
- Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
- Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
- Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?
This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.
- Most research has focused on young women.
- There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
- But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.
There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).
The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.
Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.
If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.
For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.
If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:
- Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
- Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources
A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.
You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.
Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.
The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.
Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.
As you write, you can follow these tips:
- Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts
In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.
When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !
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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
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A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .
It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.
There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:
- To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
- To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
- To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
- To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
- To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic
Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.
The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .
A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .
An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a paper .
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Literature Reviews: Types of Literature
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Types of Literature
- 3. Search the Literature
- 4. Read & Analyze the Literature
- 5. Write the Review
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Different types of publications have different characteristics.
Primary Literature Primary sources means original studies, based on direct observation, use of statistical records, interviews, or experimental methods, of actual practices or the actual impact of practices or policies. They are authored by researchers, contains original research data, and are usually published in a peer-reviewed journal. Primary literature may also include conference papers, pre-prints, or preliminary reports. Also called empirical research .
Secondary Literature Secondary literature consists of interpretations and evaluations that are derived from or refer to the primary source literature. Examples include review articles (such as meta-analysis and systematic reviews) and reference works. Professionals within each discipline take the primary literature and synthesize, generalize, and integrate new research.
Tertiary Literature Tertiary literature consists of a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources such as textbooks, encyclopedia articles, and guidebooks or handbooks. The purpose of tertiary literature is to provide an overview of key research findings and an introduction to principles and practices within the discipline.
Adapted from the Information Services Department of the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago , University of Illinois at Chicago.
Types of Scientific Publications
These examples and descriptions of publication types will give you an idea of how to use various works and why you would want to write a particular kind of paper.
- Scholarly article aka empirical article
- Review article
- Conference paper
Scholarly (aka empirical) article -- example
Empirical studies use data derived from observation or experiment. Original research papers (also called primary research articles) that describe empirical studies and their results are published in academic journals. Articles that report empirical research contain different sections which relate to the steps of the scientific method.
Abstract - The abstract provides a very brief summary of the research.
Introduction - The introduction sets the research in a context, which provides a review of related research and develops the hypotheses for the research.
Method - The method section describes how the research was conducted.
Results - The results section describes the outcomes of the study.
Discussion - The discussion section contains the interpretations and implications of the study.
References - A references section lists the articles, books, and other material cited in the report.
Review article -- example
A review article summarizes a particular field of study and places the recent research in context. It provides an overview and is an excellent introduction to a subject area. The references used in a review article are helpful as they lead to more in-depth research.
Many databases have limits or filters to search for review articles. You can also search by keywords like review article, survey, overview, summary, etc.
Conference proceedings, abstracts and reports -- example
Conference proceedings, abstracts and reports are not usually peer-reviewed. A conference article is similar to a scholarly article insofar as it is academic. Conference articles are published much more quickly than scholarly articles. You can find conference papers in many of the same places as scholarly articles.
How Do You Identify Empirical Articles?
To identify an article based on empirical research, look for the following characteristics:
The article is published in a peer-reviewed journal .
The article includes charts, graphs, or statistical analysis .
The article is substantial in size , likely to be more than 5 pages long.
The article contains the following parts (the exact terms may vary): abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, references .
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Related work / literature review / research review, download pdf handout: literature reviews, watch video: literature reviews.
A literature review, research review, or related work section compares, contrasts, synthesizes, and provides introspection about the available knowledge for a given topic or field. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably (as they are here), but while both can refer to a section of a longer work, “literature review” can also describe a stand-alone paper.
When you start writing a literature review, the most straightforward course may be to compile all relevant sources and compare them, perhaps evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. While this is a good place to start, your literature review is incomplete unless it creates something new through these comparisons. Luckily, our resources can help you do this!
With these resources, you’ll learn:
- How to write a literature review that contributes rather than summarizes
- Common mistakes to avoid
- Useful phrases to show agreement and disagreement between sources
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Systematic Literature Review or Literature Review?
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Table of Contents
As a researcher, you may be required to conduct a literature review. But what kind of review do you need to complete? Is it a systematic literature review or a standard literature review? In this article, we’ll outline the purpose of a systematic literature review, the difference between literature review and systematic review, and other important aspects of systematic literature reviews.
What is a Systematic Literature Review?
The purpose of systematic literature reviews is simple. Essentially, it is to provide a high-level of a particular research question. This question, in and of itself, is highly focused to match the review of the literature related to the topic at hand. For example, a focused question related to medical or clinical outcomes.
The components of a systematic literature review are quite different from the standard literature review research theses that most of us are used to (more on this below). And because of the specificity of the research question, typically a systematic literature review involves more than one primary author. There’s more work related to a systematic literature review, so it makes sense to divide the work among two or three (or even more) researchers.
Your systematic literature review will follow very clear and defined protocols that are decided on prior to any review. This involves extensive planning, and a deliberately designed search strategy that is in tune with the specific research question. Every aspect of a systematic literature review, including the research protocols, which databases are used, and dates of each search, must be transparent so that other researchers can be assured that the systematic literature review is comprehensive and focused.
Most systematic literature reviews originated in the world of medicine science. Now, they also include any evidence-based research questions. In addition to the focus and transparency of these types of reviews, additional aspects of a quality systematic literature review includes:
- Clear and concise review and summary
- Comprehensive coverage of the topic
- Accessibility and equality of the research reviewed
Systematic Review vs Literature Review
The difference between literature review and systematic review comes back to the initial research question. Whereas the systematic review is very specific and focused, the standard literature review is much more general. The components of a literature review, for example, are similar to any other research paper. That is, it includes an introduction, description of the methods used, a discussion and conclusion, as well as a reference list or bibliography.
A systematic review, however, includes entirely different components that reflect the specificity of its research question, and the requirement for transparency and inclusion. For instance, the systematic review will include:
- Eligibility criteria for included research
- A description of the systematic research search strategy
- An assessment of the validity of reviewed research
- Interpretations of the results of research included in the review
As you can see, contrary to the general overview or summary of a topic, the systematic literature review includes much more detail and work to compile than a standard literature review. Indeed, it can take years to conduct and write a systematic literature review. But the information that practitioners and other researchers can glean from a systematic literature review is, by its very nature, exceptionally valuable.
This is not to diminish the value of the standard literature review. The importance of literature reviews in research writing is discussed in this article . It’s just that the two types of research reviews answer different questions, and, therefore, have different purposes and roles in the world of research and evidence-based writing.
Systematic Literature Review vs Meta Analysis
It would be understandable to think that a systematic literature review is similar to a meta analysis. But, whereas a systematic review can include several research studies to answer a specific question, typically a meta analysis includes a comparison of different studies to suss out any inconsistencies or discrepancies. For more about this topic, check out Systematic Review VS Meta-Analysis article.
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- Getting Started
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- What is a Literature Review?
- What is NOT a Literature Review?
- Purposes of a Literature Review
- Types of Literature Reviews
- Literature Reviews vs. Systematic Reviews
- Systematic vs. Meta-Analysis
Literature Review is a comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular field of study or line of research, usually over a specific period of time, in the form of an in-depth, critical bibliographic essay or annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works.
Also, we can define a literature review as the collected body of scholarly works related to a topic:
- Summarizes and analyzes previous research relevant to a topic
- Includes scholarly books and articles published in academic journals
- Can be an specific scholarly paper or a section in a research paper
The objective of a Literature Review is to find previous published scholarly works relevant to an specific topic
- Help gather ideas or information
- Keep up to date in current trends and findings
- Help develop new questions
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.
- Helps focus your own research questions or problems
- Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
- Suggests unexplored ideas or populations
- Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
- Tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.
- Identifies critical gaps, points of disagreement, or potentially flawed methodology or theoretical approaches.
- Indicates potential directions for future research.
All content in this section is from Literature Review Research from Old Dominion University
Keep in mind the following, a literature review is NOT:
Not an essay
Not an annotated bibliography in which you summarize each article that you have reviewed. A literature review goes beyond basic summarizing to focus on the critical analysis of the reviewed works and their relationship to your research question.
Not a research paper where you select resources to support one side of an issue versus another. A lit review should explain and consider all sides of an argument in order to avoid bias, and areas of agreement and disagreement should be highlighted.
A literature review serves several purposes. For example, it
- provides thorough knowledge of previous studies; introduces seminal works.
- helps focus one’s own research topic.
- identifies a conceptual framework for one’s own research questions or problems; indicates potential directions for future research.
- suggests previously unused or underused methodologies, designs, quantitative and qualitative strategies.
- identifies gaps in previous studies; identifies flawed methodologies and/or theoretical approaches; avoids replication of mistakes.
- helps the researcher avoid repetition of earlier research.
- suggests unexplored populations.
- determines whether past studies agree or disagree; identifies controversy in the literature.
- tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.
As Kennedy (2007) notes*, it is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers. First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish. Second are the reviews of those studies that summarize and offer new interpretations built from and often extending beyond the original studies. Third, there are the perceptions, conclusions, opinion, and interpretations that are shared informally that become part of the lore of field. In composing a literature review, it is important to note that it is often this third layer of knowledge that is cited as "true" even though it often has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary literature reviews.
Given this, while literature reviews are designed to provide an overview and synthesis of pertinent sources you have explored, there are several approaches to how they can be done, depending upon the type of analysis underpinning your study. Listed below are definitions of types of literature reviews:
Argumentative Review This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint. Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse. However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews.
Integrative Review Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses. A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication.
Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent. Historical reviews are focused on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline. The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.
Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [content], but how they said it [method of analysis]. This approach provides a framework of understanding at different levels (i.e. those of theory, substantive fields, research approaches and data collection and analysis techniques), enables researchers to draw on a wide variety of knowledge ranging from the conceptual level to practical documents for use in fieldwork in the areas of ontological and epistemological consideration, quantitative and qualitative integration, sampling, interviewing, data collection and data analysis, and helps highlight many ethical issues which we should be aware of and consider as we go through our study.
Systematic Review This form consists of an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research question, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?"
Theoretical Review The purpose of this form is to concretely examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena. The theoretical literature review help establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems. The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework.
* Kennedy, Mary M. "Defining a Literature." Educational Researcher 36 (April 2007): 139-147.
All content in this section is from The Literature Review created by Dr. Robert Larabee USC
Robinson, P. and Lowe, J. (2015), Literature reviews vs systematic reviews. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39: 103-103. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12393
What's in the name? The difference between a Systematic Review and a Literature Review, and why it matters . By Lynn Kysh from University of Southern California
Systematic review or meta-analysis?
A systematic review answers a defined research question by collecting and summarizing all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria.
A meta-analysis is the use of statistical methods to summarize the results of these studies.
Systematic reviews, just like other research articles, can be of varying quality. They are a significant piece of work (the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at York estimates that a team will take 9-24 months), and to be useful to other researchers and practitioners they should have:
- clearly stated objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies
- explicit, reproducible methodology
- a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies
- assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies (e.g. risk of bias)
- systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies
Not all systematic reviews contain meta-analysis.
Meta-analysis is the use of statistical methods to summarize the results of independent studies. By combining information from all relevant studies, meta-analysis can provide more precise estimates of the effects of health care than those derived from the individual studies included within a review. More information on meta-analyses can be found in Cochrane Handbook, Chapter 9 .
A meta-analysis goes beyond critique and integration and conducts secondary statistical analysis on the outcomes of similar studies. It is a systematic review that uses quantitative methods to synthesize and summarize the results.
An advantage of a meta-analysis is the ability to be completely objective in evaluating research findings. Not all topics, however, have sufficient research evidence to allow a meta-analysis to be conducted. In that case, an integrative review is an appropriate strategy.
Some of the content in this section is from Systematic reviews and meta-analyses: step by step guide created by Kate McAllister.
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Literature Reviews pp 31–57 Cite as
- Ana Paula Cardoso Ermel ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3874-9792 5 ,
- D. P. Lacerda ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-8011-3376 6 ,
- Maria Isabel W. M. Morandi ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1337-1487 7 &
- Leandro Gauss ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5708-5912 8
- First Online: 31 August 2021
- The original version of this chapter was revised: Figure 4.12 was updated. The correction to this chapter can be found at https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-75722-9_10
This chapter addresses the concept of the Literature Analysis and highlights its importance for a Systematic Literature Review (SLR). Moreover, it presents the prominent techniques adopted to perform it—Scientometrics, Bibliometrics, and Content Analysis—as well as depicts the main analysis that can be carried out by them.
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In addition to the changes described above, we note that
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Cardoso Ermel, A.P., Lacerda, D.P., Morandi, M.I.W.M., Gauss, L. (2021). Literature Analysis. In: Literature Reviews. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-75722-9_4
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- 2. CHAPTER III
- 3. Is composed of discussions of facts and principles to which the present study is related. For instance, if the present study deals with drug addiction, literature to be reviewed or surveyed should be composed of materials that deal with drug addiction. RELATED LITERATURE
- 4. These materials are usually printed and found in books, encyclopedias, professional journals, magazines, newspapers, and other publications. RELATED LITERATURE
- 5. RELATED LITERATURE
- 6. These materials are classified as 1. Local, if printed in the Philippines; and 2. Foreign, if printed in other lands. RELATED LITERATURE
- 7. Studies, inquiries, or investigations already conducted to which the present proposed study is relate or has some bearing or similarity. They are usually unpublished materials such as manuscripts, theses, and dissertations. RELATED STUDIES
- 8. RELATED STUDIES
- 9. They may be classified as: 1. Local, if the inquiry was conducted in the Philippines; and 2. Foreign, if conducted in foreign lands RELATED STUDIES
- 10. Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 11. A survey or review of related literature and studies is very important because such reviewed literature and studies serve as a foundation of the proposed study. This is because related literature and studies guide the researcher in pursuing his research venture. Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 12. Reviewed literature and studies help or guide the researcher in the following ways:
- 13. 1. They help or guide the researcher in searching for or selecting a better research problem or topic. By reviewing related materials, a replication of a similar problem may be found better than the problem already chosen. Replication is the study of research problem already conducted but in another place. Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 14. 2. They help the investigator understand his topic for research better. Reviewing related literature and studies may clarify vague points about his problem. Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 15. 3. They ensure that there will be no duplication of other studies. There is duplication if an investigation already made is conducted again in the same locale using practically the same respondents. This is avoided if a survey of related literature and studies be made first. Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 16. 4. They help and guide the researcher in locating more sources of related information. This is because the bibliography of a study already conducted indicate references about similar studies. Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 17. 5. They help and guide the researcher in making his research design especially in: a. the formulation of specific questions to be researched on; b. the formulation of assumptions and hypotheses if there should be any; Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 18. c. the formulation of conceptual framework; Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 19. Conceptual Framework
- 20. d. the selection and application of the methods of research; e. the selection and application of sampling techniques; Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 21. f. the selection and/or preparation and validation of research instruments for gathering data; g. the selection and application of statistical procedures; Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 22. h. The analysis, organization, presentation, and interpretation of data; i. The making of the summary of implications for the whole study; j. The formulation of the summary of findings, conclusions, and recommendation; and Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 23. 6. They help and guide the researcher in making comparison between his findings of other researchers on similar studies with the end in view of formulating generalization or principles which are the contributions of the study to fund of knowledge. Importance, Purposes, and Functions of Related Literature and Studies
- 24. Characteristics of Related Literature and Studies
- 25. There are certain characteristics of related materials that make them of true value. Among these characteristics are:
- 26. 1. The surveyed materials must be as recent as possible. This is important because of the rapid social, economic, scientific, and technological change. Findings several years ago may be of little value today because of the fast changing life style of the people. Characteristics of Related Literature and Studies
- 27. There are exception, however. Treatises that deal on universals or things of more or less permanent nature may be still be good today. There are mathematical laws and formulas and statistical procedures that had been formulated a long, long time ago which are being use today with very, very little improvement. This is also true with natural and physical laws. Books on these, though written a long time ago, are still being cited today.
- 28. Another exception is when a comparison or contrast is to be made between the conditions of today and those of a remote past, say ten or twenty years ago. Naturally, literature and studies about that remote past have to be surveyed and reviewed.
- 29. 2. Materials reviewed must be objective and unbiased. Some materials are extremely or subtly one sided, either political, or religious, etc. Comparison with these materials cannot be made logically and validity. Distorted generalizations may result. Characteristics of Related Literature and Studies
- 30. 3. Materials surveyed must be relevant to the study. Only materials that have some bearing or similarity to the research problem at hand should be reviewed. Characteristics of Related Literature and Studies
- 31. 4. Surveyed materials must have been based upon genuinely original and true facts or data to make them valid and reliable. There are cases where fictitious data are supplied just to complete a research report (thesis or dissertation). Of course, this kind of deception is hard to detect and to prove. Thus, this is a real problem to honest researchers. Characteristics of Related Literature and Studies
- 32. 5. Reviewed materials must not be few or too many. They must only be sufficient enough to give insight into the research problem or to indicate the nature of the present investigation. The may also depend upon the availability of related materials. Characteristics of Related Literature and Studies
- 33. Sometimes there is a paucity of such materials. Ordinarily, form ten to fifteen related materials re needed for a master`s thesis and from fifteen to twenty-five for a doctoral dissertation depending their availability, as well as their depth and length of discussions.
- 34. For an undergraduate thesis, from five to ten may do. The numbers, however, are only suggestive and not imperative nor mandatory. These are only the average numbers observed from theses and dissertation surveyed by this author.
- 35. Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 36. The sources of related literature and studies may include the following:
- 37. 1. Book, encyclopedias, almanacs, and other similar references. 2. Articles published in professional journals, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, and other publications. Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 38. 3. Manuscripts, monographs, memoirs, speeches, letters, and diaries. 4. Unpublished theses and dissertations. 5. The Constitution, and laws and statues of the land. Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 39. 6. Bulletins, circulars, and orders emanating from government offices and departments, especially from the Office of the President of the Philippines and the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 40. 7. Records from schools, public and private, especially reports of their activities. 8. Reports from seminars educational or otherwise. Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 41. 9. Official reports of all kinds, educational, social, economic, scientific, technological, political, etc. from the government and other entities. Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 42. Where to Locate the Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 43. Generally, the sources of related literature and studies are located in the following places: Where to Locate the Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 44. 1. Libraries, either government, school, or private libraries. 2. Government and private offices. Where to Locate the Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 45. 3. The National Library 4. The Library of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Where to Locate the Sources of Related Literature and Studies
- 46. The last two are especially rich depositories of related materials, particularly unpublished master`s theses and doctoral dissertations.
- 47. More way to go, god bless to us!
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Literature Reviews, Theoretical Frameworks, and Conceptual Frameworks: An Introduction for New Biology Education Researchers
- Julie A. Luft
- Sophia Jeong
- Robert Idsardi
- Grant Gardner
Department of Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science Education, Mary Frances Early College of Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7124
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*Address correspondence to: Sophia Jeong ( E-mail Address: [email protected] ).
Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education & Human Ecology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210
Department of Biology, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA 99004
Department of Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132
To frame their work, biology education researchers need to consider the role of literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks as critical elements of the research and writing process. However, these elements can be confusing for scholars new to education research. This Research Methods article is designed to provide an overview of each of these elements and delineate the purpose of each in the educational research process. We describe what biology education researchers should consider as they conduct literature reviews, identify theoretical frameworks, and construct conceptual frameworks. Clarifying these different components of educational research studies can be helpful to new biology education researchers and the biology education research community at large in situating their work in the broader scholarly literature.
Discipline-based education research (DBER) involves the purposeful and situated study of teaching and learning in specific disciplinary areas ( Singer et al. , 2012 ). Studies in DBER are guided by research questions that reflect disciplines’ priorities and worldviews. Researchers can use quantitative data, qualitative data, or both to answer these research questions through a variety of methodological traditions. Across all methodologies, there are different methods associated with planning and conducting educational research studies that include the use of surveys, interviews, observations, artifacts, or instruments. Ensuring the coherence of these elements to the discipline’s perspective also involves situating the work in the broader scholarly literature. The tools for doing this include literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks. However, the purpose and function of each of these elements is often confusing to new education researchers. The goal of this article is to introduce new biology education researchers to these three important elements important in DBER scholarship and the broader educational literature.
The first element we discuss is a review of research (literature reviews), which highlights the need for a specific research question, study problem, or topic of investigation. Literature reviews situate the relevance of the study within a topic and a field. The process may seem familiar to science researchers entering DBER fields, but new researchers may still struggle in conducting the review. Booth et al. (2016b) highlight some of the challenges novice education researchers face when conducting a review of literature. They point out that novice researchers struggle in deciding how to focus the review, determining the scope of articles needed in the review, and knowing how to be critical of the articles in the review. Overcoming these challenges (and others) can help novice researchers construct a sound literature review that can inform the design of the study and help ensure the work makes a contribution to the field.
The second and third highlighted elements are theoretical and conceptual frameworks. These guide biology education research (BER) studies, and may be less familiar to science researchers. These elements are important in shaping the construction of new knowledge. Theoretical frameworks offer a way to explain and interpret the studied phenomenon, while conceptual frameworks clarify assumptions about the studied phenomenon. Despite the importance of these constructs in educational research, biology educational researchers have noted the limited use of theoretical or conceptual frameworks in published work ( DeHaan, 2011 ; Dirks, 2011 ; Lo et al. , 2019 ). In reviewing articles published in CBE—Life Sciences Education ( LSE ) between 2015 and 2019, we found that fewer than 25% of the research articles had a theoretical or conceptual framework (see the Supplemental Information), and at times there was an inconsistent use of theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Clearly, these frameworks are challenging for published biology education researchers, which suggests the importance of providing some initial guidance to new biology education researchers.
Fortunately, educational researchers have increased their explicit use of these frameworks over time, and this is influencing educational research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. For instance, a quick search for theoretical or conceptual frameworks in the abstracts of articles in Educational Research Complete (a common database for educational research) in STEM fields demonstrates a dramatic change over the last 20 years: from only 778 articles published between 2000 and 2010 to 5703 articles published between 2010 and 2020, a more than sevenfold increase. Greater recognition of the importance of these frameworks is contributing to DBER authors being more explicit about such frameworks in their studies.
Collectively, literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks work to guide methodological decisions and the elucidation of important findings. Each offers a different perspective on the problem of study and is an essential element in all forms of educational research. As new researchers seek to learn about these elements, they will find different resources, a variety of perspectives, and many suggestions about the construction and use of these elements. The wide range of available information can overwhelm the new researcher who just wants to learn the distinction between these elements or how to craft them adequately.
Our goal in writing this paper is not to offer specific advice about how to write these sections in scholarly work. Instead, we wanted to introduce these elements to those who are new to BER and who are interested in better distinguishing one from the other. In this paper, we share the purpose of each element in BER scholarship, along with important points on its construction. We also provide references for additional resources that may be beneficial to better understanding each element. Table 1 summarizes the key distinctions among these elements.
This article is written for the new biology education researcher who is just learning about these different elements or for scientists looking to become more involved in BER. It is a result of our own work as science education and biology education researchers, whether as graduate students and postdoctoral scholars or newly hired and established faculty members. This is the article we wish had been available as we started to learn about these elements or discussed them with new educational researchers in biology.
Purpose of a literature review.
A literature review is foundational to any research study in education or science. In education, a well-conceptualized and well-executed review provides a summary of the research that has already been done on a specific topic and identifies questions that remain to be answered, thus illustrating the current research project’s potential contribution to the field and the reasoning behind the methodological approach selected for the study ( Maxwell, 2012 ). BER is an evolving disciplinary area that is redefining areas of conceptual emphasis as well as orientations toward teaching and learning (e.g., Labov et al. , 2010 ; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011 ; Nehm, 2019 ). As a result, building comprehensive, critical, purposeful, and concise literature reviews can be a challenge for new biology education researchers.
Building Literature Reviews
There are different ways to approach and construct a literature review. Booth et al. (2016a) provide an overview that includes, for example, scoping reviews, which are focused only on notable studies and use a basic method of analysis, and integrative reviews, which are the result of exhaustive literature searches across different genres. Underlying each of these different review processes are attention to the s earch process, a ppraisa l of articles, s ynthesis of the literature, and a nalysis: SALSA ( Booth et al. , 2016a ). This useful acronym can help the researcher focus on the process while building a specific type of review.
However, new educational researchers often have questions about literature reviews that are foundational to SALSA or other approaches. Common questions concern determining which literature pertains to the topic of study or the role of the literature review in the design of the study. This section addresses such questions broadly while providing general guidance for writing a narrative literature review that evaluates the most pertinent studies.
The literature review process should begin before the research is conducted. As Boote and Beile (2005 , p. 3) suggested, researchers should be “scholars before researchers.” They point out that having a good working knowledge of the proposed topic helps illuminate avenues of study. Some subject areas have a deep body of work to read and reflect upon, providing a strong foundation for developing the research question(s). For instance, the teaching and learning of evolution is an area of long-standing interest in the BER community, generating many studies (e.g., Perry et al. , 2008 ; Barnes and Brownell, 2016 ) and reviews of research (e.g., Sickel and Friedrichsen, 2013 ; Ziadie and Andrews, 2018 ). Emerging areas of BER include the affective domain, issues of transfer, and metacognition ( Singer et al. , 2012 ). Many studies in these areas are transdisciplinary and not always specific to biology education (e.g., Rodrigo-Peiris et al. , 2018 ; Kolpikova et al. , 2019 ). These newer areas may require reading outside BER; fortunately, summaries of some of these topics can be found in the Current Insights section of the LSE website.
In focusing on a specific problem within a broader research strand, a new researcher will likely need to examine research outside BER. Depending upon the area of study, the expanded reading list might involve a mix of BER, DBER, and educational research studies. Determining the scope of the reading is not always straightforward. A simple way to focus one’s reading is to create a “summary phrase” or “research nugget,” which is a very brief descriptive statement about the study. It should focus on the essence of the study, for example, “first-year nonmajor students’ understanding of evolution,” “metacognitive prompts to enhance learning during biochemistry,” or “instructors’ inquiry-based instructional practices after professional development programming.” This type of phrase should help a new researcher identify two or more areas to review that pertain to the study. Focusing on recent research in the last 5 years is a good first step. Additional studies can be identified by reading relevant works referenced in those articles. It is also important to read seminal studies that are more than 5 years old. Reading a range of studies should give the researcher the necessary command of the subject in order to suggest a research question.
Given that the research question(s) arise from the literature review, the review should also substantiate the selected methodological approach. The review and research question(s) guide the researcher in determining how to collect and analyze data. Often the methodological approach used in a study is selected to contribute knowledge that expands upon what has been published previously about the topic (see Institute of Education Sciences and National Science Foundation, 2013 ). An emerging topic of study may need an exploratory approach that allows for a description of the phenomenon and development of a potential theory. This could, but not necessarily, require a methodological approach that uses interviews, observations, surveys, or other instruments. An extensively studied topic may call for the additional understanding of specific factors or variables; this type of study would be well suited to a verification or a causal research design. These could entail a methodological approach that uses valid and reliable instruments, observations, or interviews to determine an effect in the studied event. In either of these examples, the researcher(s) may use a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods methodological approach.
Even with a good research question, there is still more reading to be done. The complexity and focus of the research question dictates the depth and breadth of the literature to be examined. Questions that connect multiple topics can require broad literature reviews. For instance, a study that explores the impact of a biology faculty learning community on the inquiry instruction of faculty could have the following review areas: learning communities among biology faculty, inquiry instruction among biology faculty, and inquiry instruction among biology faculty as a result of professional learning. Biology education researchers need to consider whether their literature review requires studies from different disciplines within or outside DBER. For the example given, it would be fruitful to look at research focused on learning communities with faculty in STEM fields or in general education fields that result in instructional change. It is important not to be too narrow or too broad when reading. When the conclusions of articles start to sound similar or no new insights are gained, the researcher likely has a good foundation for a literature review. This level of reading should allow the researcher to demonstrate a mastery in understanding the researched topic, explain the suitability of the proposed research approach, and point to the need for the refined research question(s).
The literature review should include the researcher’s evaluation and critique of the selected studies. A researcher may have a large collection of studies, but not all of the studies will follow standards important in the reporting of empirical work in the social sciences. The American Educational Research Association ( Duran et al. , 2006 ), for example, offers a general discussion about standards for such work: an adequate review of research informing the study, the existence of sound and appropriate data collection and analysis methods, and appropriate conclusions that do not overstep or underexplore the analyzed data. The Institute of Education Sciences and National Science Foundation (2013) also offer Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development that can be used to evaluate collected studies.
Because not all journals adhere to such standards, it is important that a researcher review each study to determine the quality of published research, per the guidelines suggested earlier. In some instances, the research may be fatally flawed. Examples of such flaws include data that do not pertain to the question, a lack of discussion about the data collection, poorly constructed instruments, or an inadequate analysis. These types of errors result in studies that are incomplete, error-laden, or inaccurate and should be excluded from the review. Most studies have limitations, and the author(s) often make them explicit. For instance, there may be an instructor effect, recognized bias in the analysis, or issues with the sample population. Limitations are usually addressed by the research team in some way to ensure a sound and acceptable research process. Occasionally, the limitations associated with the study can be significant and not addressed adequately, which leaves a consequential decision in the hands of the researcher. Providing critiques of studies in the literature review process gives the reader confidence that the researcher has carefully examined relevant work in preparation for the study and, ultimately, the manuscript.
A solid literature review clearly anchors the proposed study in the field and connects the research question(s), the methodological approach, and the discussion. Reviewing extant research leads to research questions that will contribute to what is known in the field. By summarizing what is known, the literature review points to what needs to be known, which in turn guides decisions about methodology. Finally, notable findings of the new study are discussed in reference to those described in the literature review.
Within published BER studies, literature reviews can be placed in different locations in an article. When included in the introductory section of the study, the first few paragraphs of the manuscript set the stage, with the literature review following the opening paragraphs. Cooper et al. (2019) illustrate this approach in their study of course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). An introduction discussing the potential of CURES is followed by an analysis of the existing literature relevant to the design of CUREs that allows for novel student discoveries. Within this review, the authors point out contradictory findings among research on novel student discoveries. This clarifies the need for their study, which is described and highlighted through specific research aims.
A literature reviews can also make up a separate section in a paper. For example, the introduction to Todd et al. (2019) illustrates the need for their research topic by highlighting the potential of learning progressions (LPs) and suggesting that LPs may help mitigate learning loss in genetics. At the end of the introduction, the authors state their specific research questions. The review of literature following this opening section comprises two subsections. One focuses on learning loss in general and examines a variety of studies and meta-analyses from the disciplines of medical education, mathematics, and reading. The second section focuses specifically on LPs in genetics and highlights student learning in the midst of LPs. These separate reviews provide insights into the stated research question.
Suggestions and Advice
A well-conceptualized, comprehensive, and critical literature review reveals the understanding of the topic that the researcher brings to the study. Literature reviews should not be so big that there is no clear area of focus; nor should they be so narrow that no real research question arises. The task for a researcher is to craft an efficient literature review that offers a critical analysis of published work, articulates the need for the study, guides the methodological approach to the topic of study, and provides an adequate foundation for the discussion of the findings.
In our own writing of literature reviews, there are often many drafts. An early draft may seem well suited to the study because the need for and approach to the study are well described. However, as the results of the study are analyzed and findings begin to emerge, the existing literature review may be inadequate and need revision. The need for an expanded discussion about the research area can result in the inclusion of new studies that support the explanation of a potential finding. The literature review may also prove to be too broad. Refocusing on a specific area allows for more contemplation of a finding.
Booth, A., Sutton, A., & Papaioannou, D. (2016a). Systemic approaches to a successful literature review (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. This book addresses different types of literature reviews and offers important suggestions pertaining to defining the scope of the literature review and assessing extant studies.
Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., Williams, J. M., Bizup, J., & Fitzgerald, W. T. (2016b). The craft of research (4th ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. This book can help the novice consider how to make the case for an area of study. While this book is not specifically about literature reviews, it offers suggestions about making the case for your study.
Galvan, J. L., & Galvan, M. C. (2017). Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences (7th ed.). Routledge. This book offers guidance on writing different types of literature reviews. For the novice researcher, there are useful suggestions for creating coherent literature reviews.
Purpose of theoretical frameworks.
As new education researchers may be less familiar with theoretical frameworks than with literature reviews, this discussion begins with an analogy. Envision a biologist, chemist, and physicist examining together the dramatic effect of a fog tsunami over the ocean. A biologist gazing at this phenomenon may be concerned with the effect of fog on various species. A chemist may be interested in the chemical composition of the fog as water vapor condenses around bits of salt. A physicist may be focused on the refraction of light to make fog appear to be “sitting” above the ocean. While observing the same “objective event,” the scientists are operating under different theoretical frameworks that provide a particular perspective or “lens” for the interpretation of the phenomenon. Each of these scientists brings specialized knowledge, experiences, and values to this phenomenon, and these influence the interpretation of the phenomenon. The scientists’ theoretical frameworks influence how they design and carry out their studies and interpret their data.
Within an educational study, a theoretical framework helps to explain a phenomenon through a particular lens and challenges and extends existing knowledge within the limitations of that lens. Theoretical frameworks are explicitly stated by an educational researcher in the paper’s framework, theory, or relevant literature section. The framework shapes the types of questions asked, guides the method by which data are collected and analyzed, and informs the discussion of the results of the study. It also reveals the researcher’s subjectivities, for example, values, social experience, and viewpoint ( Allen, 2017 ). It is essential that a novice researcher learn to explicitly state a theoretical framework, because all research questions are being asked from the researcher’s implicit or explicit assumptions of a phenomenon of interest ( Schwandt, 2000 ).
Selecting Theoretical Frameworks
Theoretical frameworks are one of the most contemplated elements in our work in educational research. In this section, we share three important considerations for new scholars selecting a theoretical framework.
The first step in identifying a theoretical framework involves reflecting on the phenomenon within the study and the assumptions aligned with the phenomenon. The phenomenon involves the studied event. There are many possibilities, for example, student learning, instructional approach, or group organization. A researcher holds assumptions about how the phenomenon will be effected, influenced, changed, or portrayed. It is ultimately the researcher’s assumption(s) about the phenomenon that aligns with a theoretical framework. An example can help illustrate how a researcher’s reflection on the phenomenon and acknowledgment of assumptions can result in the identification of a theoretical framework.
In our example, a biology education researcher may be interested in exploring how students’ learning of difficult biological concepts can be supported by the interactions of group members. The phenomenon of interest is the interactions among the peers, and the researcher assumes that more knowledgeable students are important in supporting the learning of the group. As a result, the researcher may draw on Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory of learning and development that is focused on the phenomenon of student learning in a social setting. This theory posits the critical nature of interactions among students and between students and teachers in the process of building knowledge. A researcher drawing upon this framework holds the assumption that learning is a dynamic social process involving questions and explanations among students in the classroom and that more knowledgeable peers play an important part in the process of building conceptual knowledge.
It is important to state at this point that there are many different theoretical frameworks. Some frameworks focus on learning and knowing, while other theoretical frameworks focus on equity, empowerment, or discourse. Some frameworks are well articulated, and others are still being refined. For a new researcher, it can be challenging to find a theoretical framework. Two of the best ways to look for theoretical frameworks is through published works that highlight different frameworks.
When a theoretical framework is selected, it should clearly connect to all parts of the study. The framework should augment the study by adding a perspective that provides greater insights into the phenomenon. It should clearly align with the studies described in the literature review. For instance, a framework focused on learning would correspond to research that reported different learning outcomes for similar studies. The methods for data collection and analysis should also correspond to the framework. For instance, a study about instructional interventions could use a theoretical framework concerned with learning and could collect data about the effect of the intervention on what is learned. When the data are analyzed, the theoretical framework should provide added meaning to the findings, and the findings should align with the theoretical framework.
A study by Jensen and Lawson (2011) provides an example of how a theoretical framework connects different parts of the study. They compared undergraduate biology students in heterogeneous and homogeneous groups over the course of a semester. Jensen and Lawson (2011) assumed that learning involved collaboration and more knowledgeable peers, which made Vygotsky’s (1978) theory a good fit for their study. They predicted that students in heterogeneous groups would experience greater improvement in their reasoning abilities and science achievements with much of the learning guided by the more knowledgeable peers.
In the enactment of the study, they collected data about the instruction in traditional and inquiry-oriented classes, while the students worked in homogeneous or heterogeneous groups. To determine the effect of working in groups, the authors also measured students’ reasoning abilities and achievement. Each data-collection and analysis decision connected to understanding the influence of collaborative work.
Their findings highlighted aspects of Vygotsky’s (1978) theory of learning. One finding, for instance, posited that inquiry instruction, as a whole, resulted in reasoning and achievement gains. This links to Vygotsky (1978) , because inquiry instruction involves interactions among group members. A more nuanced finding was that group composition had a conditional effect. Heterogeneous groups performed better with more traditional and didactic instruction, regardless of the reasoning ability of the group members. Homogeneous groups worked better during interaction-rich activities for students with low reasoning ability. The authors attributed the variation to the different types of helping behaviors of students. High-performing students provided the answers, while students with low reasoning ability had to work collectively through the material. In terms of Vygotsky (1978) , this finding provided new insights into the learning context in which productive interactions can occur for students.
Another consideration in the selection and use of a theoretical framework pertains to its orientation to the study. This can result in the theoretical framework prioritizing individuals, institutions, and/or policies ( Anfara and Mertz, 2014 ). Frameworks that connect to individuals, for instance, could contribute to understanding their actions, learning, or knowledge. Institutional frameworks, on the other hand, offer insights into how institutions, organizations, or groups can influence individuals or materials. Policy theories provide ways to understand how national or local policies can dictate an emphasis on outcomes or instructional design. These different types of frameworks highlight different aspects in an educational setting, which influences the design of the study and the collection of data. In addition, these different frameworks offer a way to make sense of the data. Aligning the data collection and analysis with the framework ensures that a study is coherent and can contribute to the field.
New understandings emerge when different theoretical frameworks are used. For instance, Ebert-May et al. (2015) prioritized the individual level within conceptual change theory (see Posner et al. , 1982 ). In this theory, an individual’s knowledge changes when it no longer fits the phenomenon. Ebert-May et al. (2015) designed a professional development program challenging biology postdoctoral scholars’ existing conceptions of teaching. The authors reported that the biology postdoctoral scholars’ teaching practices became more student-centered as they were challenged to explain their instructional decision making. According to the theory, the biology postdoctoral scholars’ dissatisfaction in their descriptions of teaching and learning initiated change in their knowledge and instruction. These results reveal how conceptual change theory can explain the learning of participants and guide the design of professional development programming.
The communities of practice (CoP) theoretical framework ( Lave, 1988 ; Wenger, 1998 ) prioritizes the institutional level , suggesting that learning occurs when individuals learn from and contribute to the communities in which they reside. Grounded in the assumption of community learning, the literature on CoP suggests that, as individuals interact regularly with the other members of their group, they learn about the rules, roles, and goals of the community ( Allee, 2000 ). A study conducted by Gehrke and Kezar (2017) used the CoP framework to understand organizational change by examining the involvement of individual faculty engaged in a cross-institutional CoP focused on changing the instructional practice of faculty at each institution. In the CoP, faculty members were involved in enhancing instructional materials within their department, which aligned with an overarching goal of instituting instruction that embraced active learning. Not surprisingly, Gehrke and Kezar (2017) revealed that faculty who perceived the community culture as important in their work cultivated institutional change. Furthermore, they found that institutional change was sustained when key leaders served as mentors and provided support for faculty, and as faculty themselves developed into leaders. This study reveals the complexity of individual roles in a COP in order to support institutional instructional change.
It is important to explicitly state the theoretical framework used in a study, but elucidating a theoretical framework can be challenging for a new educational researcher. The literature review can help to identify an applicable theoretical framework. Focal areas of the review or central terms often connect to assumptions and assertions associated with the framework that pertain to the phenomenon of interest. Another way to identify a theoretical framework is self-reflection by the researcher on personal beliefs and understandings about the nature of knowledge the researcher brings to the study ( Lysaght, 2011 ). In stating one’s beliefs and understandings related to the study (e.g., students construct their knowledge, instructional materials support learning), an orientation becomes evident that will suggest a particular theoretical framework. Theoretical frameworks are not arbitrary , but purposefully selected.
With experience, a researcher may find expanded roles for theoretical frameworks. Researchers may revise an existing framework that has limited explanatory power, or they may decide there is a need to develop a new theoretical framework. These frameworks can emerge from a current study or the need to explain a phenomenon in a new way. Researchers may also find that multiple theoretical frameworks are necessary to frame and explore a problem, as different frameworks can provide different insights into a problem.
Creswell, J. W. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. This book provides an overview of theoretical frameworks in general educational research.
Ding, L. (2019). Theoretical perspectives of quantitative physics education research. Physical Review Physics Education Research , 15 (2), 020101-1–020101-13. This paper illustrates how a DBER field can use theoretical frameworks.
Nehm, R. (2019). Biology education research: Building integrative frameworks for teaching and learning about living systems. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research , 1 , ar15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s43031-019-0017-6 . This paper articulates the need for studies in BER to explicitly state theoretical frameworks and provides examples of potential studies.
Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice . Sage. This book also provides an overview of theoretical frameworks, but for both research and evaluation.
Purpose of a conceptual framework.
A conceptual framework is a description of the way a researcher understands the factors and/or variables that are involved in the study and their relationships to one another. The purpose of a conceptual framework is to articulate the concepts under study using relevant literature ( Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009 ) and to clarify the presumed relationships among those concepts ( Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009 ; Anfara and Mertz, 2014 ). Conceptual frameworks are different from theoretical frameworks in both their breadth and grounding in established findings. Whereas a theoretical framework articulates the lens through which a researcher views the work, the conceptual framework is often more mechanistic and malleable.
Conceptual frameworks are broader, encompassing both established theories (i.e., theoretical frameworks) and the researchers’ own emergent ideas. Emergent ideas, for example, may be rooted in informal and/or unpublished observations from experience. These emergent ideas would not be considered a “theory” if they are not yet tested, supported by systematically collected evidence, and peer reviewed. However, they do still play an important role in the way researchers approach their studies. The conceptual framework allows authors to clearly describe their emergent ideas so that connections among ideas in the study and the significance of the study are apparent to readers.
Constructing Conceptual Frameworks
Including a conceptual framework in a research study is important, but researchers often opt to include either a conceptual or a theoretical framework. Either may be adequate, but both provide greater insight into the research approach. For instance, a research team plans to test a novel component of an existing theory. In their study, they describe the existing theoretical framework that informs their work and then present their own conceptual framework. Within this conceptual framework, specific topics portray emergent ideas that are related to the theory. Describing both frameworks allows readers to better understand the researchers’ assumptions, orientations, and understanding of concepts being investigated. For example, Connolly et al. (2018) included a conceptual framework that described how they applied a theoretical framework of social cognitive career theory (SCCT) to their study on teaching programs for doctoral students. In their conceptual framework, the authors described SCCT, explained how it applied to the investigation, and drew upon results from previous studies to justify the proposed connections between the theory and their emergent ideas.
In some cases, authors may be able to sufficiently describe their conceptualization of the phenomenon under study in an introduction alone, without a separate conceptual framework section. However, incomplete descriptions of how the researchers conceptualize the components of the study may limit the significance of the study by making the research less intelligible to readers. This is especially problematic when studying topics in which researchers use the same terms for different constructs or different terms for similar and overlapping constructs (e.g., inquiry, teacher beliefs, pedagogical content knowledge, or active learning). Authors must describe their conceptualization of a construct if the research is to be understandable and useful.
There are some key areas to consider regarding the inclusion of a conceptual framework in a study. To begin with, it is important to recognize that conceptual frameworks are constructed by the researchers conducting the study ( Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009 ; Maxwell, 2012 ). This is different from theoretical frameworks that are often taken from established literature. Researchers should bring together ideas from the literature, but they may be influenced by their own experiences as a student and/or instructor, the shared experiences of others, or thought experiments as they construct a description, model, or representation of their understanding of the phenomenon under study. This is an exercise in intellectual organization and clarity that often considers what is learned, known, and experienced. The conceptual framework makes these constructs explicitly visible to readers, who may have different understandings of the phenomenon based on their prior knowledge and experience. There is no single method to go about this intellectual work.
Reeves et al. (2016) is an example of an article that proposed a conceptual framework about graduate teaching assistant professional development evaluation and research. The authors used existing literature to create a novel framework that filled a gap in current research and practice related to the training of graduate teaching assistants. This conceptual framework can guide the systematic collection of data by other researchers because the framework describes the relationships among various factors that influence teaching and learning. The Reeves et al. (2016) conceptual framework may be modified as additional data are collected and analyzed by other researchers. This is not uncommon, as conceptual frameworks can serve as catalysts for concerted research efforts that systematically explore a phenomenon (e.g., Reynolds et al. , 2012 ; Brownell and Kloser, 2015 ).
Sabel et al. (2017) used a conceptual framework in their exploration of how scaffolds, an external factor, interact with internal factors to support student learning. Their conceptual framework integrated principles from two theoretical frameworks, self-regulated learning and metacognition, to illustrate how the research team conceptualized students’ use of scaffolds in their learning ( Figure 1 ). Sabel et al. (2017) created this model using their interpretations of these two frameworks in the context of their teaching.
FIGURE 1. Conceptual framework from Sabel et al. (2017) .
A conceptual framework should describe the relationship among components of the investigation ( Anfara and Mertz, 2014 ). These relationships should guide the researcher’s methods of approaching the study ( Miles et al. , 2014 ) and inform both the data to be collected and how those data should be analyzed. Explicitly describing the connections among the ideas allows the researcher to justify the importance of the study and the rigor of the research design. Just as importantly, these frameworks help readers understand why certain components of a system were not explored in the study. This is a challenge in education research, which is rooted in complex environments with many variables that are difficult to control.
For example, Sabel et al. (2017) stated: “Scaffolds, such as enhanced answer keys and reflection questions, can help students and instructors bridge the external and internal factors and support learning” (p. 3). They connected the scaffolds in the study to the three dimensions of metacognition and the eventual transformation of existing ideas into new or revised ideas. Their framework provides a rationale for focusing on how students use two different scaffolds, and not on other factors that may influence a student’s success (self-efficacy, use of active learning, exam format, etc.).
In constructing conceptual frameworks, researchers should address needed areas of study and/or contradictions discovered in literature reviews. By attending to these areas, researchers can strengthen their arguments for the importance of a study. For instance, conceptual frameworks can address how the current study will fill gaps in the research, resolve contradictions in existing literature, or suggest a new area of study. While a literature review describes what is known and not known about the phenomenon, the conceptual framework leverages these gaps in describing the current study ( Maxwell, 2012 ). In the example of Sabel et al. (2017) , the authors indicated there was a gap in the literature regarding how scaffolds engage students in metacognition to promote learning in large classes. Their study helps fill that gap by describing how scaffolds can support students in the three dimensions of metacognition: intelligibility, plausibility, and wide applicability. In another example, Lane (2016) integrated research from science identity, the ethic of care, the sense of belonging, and an expertise model of student success to form a conceptual framework that addressed the critiques of other frameworks. In a more recent example, Sbeglia et al. (2021) illustrated how a conceptual framework influences the methodological choices and inferences in studies by educational researchers.
Sometimes researchers draw upon the conceptual frameworks of other researchers. When a researcher’s conceptual framework closely aligns with an existing framework, the discussion may be brief. For example, Ghee et al. (2016) referred to portions of SCCT as their conceptual framework to explain the significance of their work on students’ self-efficacy and career interests. Because the authors’ conceptualization of this phenomenon aligned with a previously described framework, they briefly mentioned the conceptual framework and provided additional citations that provided more detail for the readers.
Within both the BER and the broader DBER communities, conceptual frameworks have been used to describe different constructs. For example, some researchers have used the term “conceptual framework” to describe students’ conceptual understandings of a biological phenomenon. This is distinct from a researcher’s conceptual framework of the educational phenomenon under investigation, which may also need to be explicitly described in the article. Other studies have presented a research logic model or flowchart of the research design as a conceptual framework. These constructions can be quite valuable in helping readers understand the data-collection and analysis process. However, a model depicting the study design does not serve the same role as a conceptual framework. Researchers need to avoid conflating these constructs by differentiating the researchers’ conceptual framework that guides the study from the research design, when applicable.
Explicitly describing conceptual frameworks is essential in depicting the focus of the study. We have found that being explicit in a conceptual framework means using accepted terminology, referencing prior work, and clearly noting connections between terms. This description can also highlight gaps in the literature or suggest potential contributions to the field of study. A well-elucidated conceptual framework can suggest additional studies that may be warranted. This can also spur other researchers to consider how they would approach the examination of a phenomenon and could result in a revised conceptual framework.
Maxwell, J. A. (2012). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Chapter 3 in this book describes how to construct conceptual frameworks.
Ravitch, S. M., & Riggan, M. (2016). Reason & rigor: How conceptual frameworks guide research . Los Angeles, CA: Sage. This book explains how conceptual frameworks guide the research questions, data collection, data analyses, and interpretation of results.
Literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks are all important in DBER and BER. Robust literature reviews reinforce the importance of a study. Theoretical frameworks connect the study to the base of knowledge in educational theory and specify the researcher’s assumptions. Conceptual frameworks allow researchers to explicitly describe their conceptualization of the relationships among the components of the phenomenon under study. Table 1 provides a general overview of these components in order to assist biology education researchers in thinking about these elements.
It is important to emphasize that these different elements are intertwined. When these elements are aligned and complement one another, the study is coherent, and the study findings contribute to knowledge in the field. When literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks are disconnected from one another, the study suffers. The point of the study is lost, suggested findings are unsupported, or important conclusions are invisible to the researcher. In addition, this misalignment may be costly in terms of time and money.
Conducting a literature review, selecting a theoretical framework, and building a conceptual framework are some of the most difficult elements of a research study. It takes time to understand the relevant research, identify a theoretical framework that provides important insights into the study, and formulate a conceptual framework that organizes the finding. In the research process, there is often a constant back and forth among these elements as the study evolves. With an ongoing refinement of the review of literature, clarification of the theoretical framework, and articulation of a conceptual framework, a sound study can emerge that makes a contribution to the field. This is the goal of BER and education research.
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- A case study of a novel summer bridge program to prepare transfer students for research in biological sciences 20 December 2022 | Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, Vol. 4, No. 1
Submitted: 24 May 2021 Revised: 13 April 2022 Accepted: 26 April 2022
© 2022 J. A. Luft et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2022 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0).
Undergraduate Research Class - Module 3: Literature Review
- How to Search for KU Library Resources
- Engineering Standards
- Patent Research
- Institutional Resources
- How to Find Materials
- Area Libraries
- Literature Review
- Source Quality
- Summarizing Papers
- Research Questions & Hypothesis
What is a Literature Review?
A literature review is a comprehensive study and interpretation of literature that addresses a specific topic.
Literature reviews are generally conducted in one of two ways:
1) As a preliminary review before a larger study in order to critically evaluate the current literature and justify why further study and research is required.
2) As a project in itself that provides a comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular discipline or area of research over a specified period of time.
Why conduct a literature review? They provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone.
More: different types of literature reviews on how to conduct a literature review.
Literature Review Links
- PhD on Track: Types of Reviews Narrative & Systematic
- Purdue Owl: Literature Reviews
- Purdue OWL: Writing a Literature Review
How to Develop a Literature Review
How to develop a literature review from Academic Research Foundations: Quantitative by Rolin Moe
What is the Difference Between a Systematic Review and a Meta-analysis?
Dr. Singh discusses the difference between a systematic review and a meta-analysis.
Purpose of a Literature Review
Purpose of a literature review from Academic Research Foundations: Quantitative by Rolin Moe
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Literature Searching vs. Literature Review
You may hear about conducting a literature search and literature review inter-changeably. In general, a literature search is the process of seeking out and identifying the existing literature related to a topic or question of interest, while a literature review is the organized synthesis of the information found in the existing literature.
In research, a literature search is typically the first step of a literature review. The search identifies relevant existing studies and articles, and the review is the end result of analyzing, synthesizing, and organizing the information found in the search.
When writing a research paper, the literature review gives you a chance to:
- Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
- Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
- Show how your research addresses a knowledge gap or contributes to a debate
- Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.
Baker, J. D. (2016). T he Purpose, Process, and Methods of Writing a Literature Review . AORN Journal, 103(3), 265–269.
Patrick, L. J., & Munro, S. (2004). The Literature Review: Demystifying the Literature Search. The Diabetes Educator, 30(1), 30–38.
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Educational resources and simple solutions for your research journey
Key differences between the background of a study and literature review
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you didn’t realize the study background and literature review were two distinct entities. The study background and literature review are both important parts of the research paper; however, due to their striking similarities, they are frequently confused with one another 1 . In this article, we will look at the key differences between the background of a study and literature review and how to write each section effectively.
When it comes to similarities between the study background and the literature review, both provide information about existing knowledge in a specific field by discussing various studies and developments. They almost always address gaps in the literature to contextualize the study at hand. So, how do they differ from one another? Simple answer: A literature review is an expanded version of the study background, or a study background is a condensed version of a literature review. To put it another way, “a study background is to a literature review what an abstract is to a paper.”
Differences between the background of the study and a literature review
Though the distinctions are subtle, understanding them is critical to avoiding confusion between these two elements. The following are the differences between the background of the study and a literature review:
- The background of a study is discussed at the beginning of the introduction while the literature review begins once the background of a study is completed (in the introduction section).
- The study background sets the stage for the study; the main goal of the study background is to effectively communicate the need for the study by highlighting the gaps in answering the open-ended questions. In contrast, a literature review is an in-depth examination of the relevant literature in that field in order to prepare readers for the study at hand . Furthermore, the literature review provides a broad overview of the topic to support the case for identifying gaps.
- The study background and literature review serve slightly different purposes; the study background emphasizes the significance of THE study, whereas the review of literature emphasizes advancement in the field by conducting a critical analysis of existing literature. It should be noted that a literature review also identifies gaps in the literature by comparing and analyzing various studies, but it is the study background that summarizes the critical findings that justifies the need for the research at hand.
- Another interesting difference is how they are structured; the study background structure follows a top-down approach, beginning with a discussion of a broader area and eventually narrowing down to a specific question—study problem—addressed in the study.
- The length of the background of the study and the literature review also differ, with the former being more concise and crisp and the latter being more detailed and elaborate.
Tips to effectively write the background of the study
Writing the background of the study is sometimes a difficult undertaking for early career researchers; however, because this is an important component of the paper, it is critical that once write it clearly and accurately. The background must convey the context of the study, defining the need to conduct the current study 2 . The study background should be organized in such a way that it provides a historical perspective on the topic, while identifying the gaps that the current study aims to fill. If the topic is multidisciplinary, it should concisely address the relevant studies, laying the groundwork for the research question at hand. To put it simply, the researchers can follow the structure below:
- What is the state of the literature on the subject?
- Where are the gaps in the field?
- What is the importance of filling these gaps?
- What are the premises of your research?
The idea is to present the relevant studies to build the context without going into detail about each one; remember to keep it concise and direct. It is recommended that the findings be organized chronologically in order to trace the developments in the field and provide a snapshot of research advancements. The best way is to create an engaging story to pique readers’ interest in the topic by presenting sequential findings that led to YOUR research question. The flow should be such that each study prepares for the next while remaining in accordance with the central theme. However, the author should avoid common blunders such as inappropriate length (too long or too short), ambiguity, an unfocused theme, and disorganization.
Tips to write the literature review without mixing it up with the background of the study
As previously discussed in this article, the literature review is an extended version of the background of the study. It follows the background of the study and presents a detailed analysis of existing literature to support the background.
Authors must conduct a thorough research survey that includes various studies related to the broad topics of their research. Following an introduction to a broader topic, the literature review directs readers to relevant studies that are significant for the objectives of the present study.
The authors are advised to present the information thematically, preferably chronologically, for a better understanding of the readers from a wide range of disciplines. This arrangement provides a more complete picture of previous research, current focus, and future directions. Finally, there are two types of literature reviews that serve different purposes in papers; they are broadly classified as experimental and theoretical literature reviews. This, however, is a topic for another article.
We believe you can now easily distinguish between the study background and the literature review and understand how you can write them most effectively for your next study. Have fun writing!
- Qureshi, F. 6 Differences between Study Background and Literature Review. Editage Insights, May 3, 2019. https://www.editage.com/insights/6-differences-between-a-study-background-and-a-literature-review .
- Sachdev, R. How to Write the Background of Your Study. Editage Insights, November 27, 2018. https://www.editage.com/insights/how-to-write-the-background-of-your-study .
Emotions in Academia: Scientific Perspective on How This Impacts Research
What is Descriptive Research? Definition, Methods, Types and Examples
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Introduction to systematic review and meta-analysis
1 Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea
2 Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses present results by combining and analyzing data from different studies conducted on similar research topics. In recent years, systematic reviews and meta-analyses have been actively performed in various fields including anesthesiology. These research methods are powerful tools that can overcome the difficulties in performing large-scale randomized controlled trials. However, the inclusion of studies with any biases or improperly assessed quality of evidence in systematic reviews and meta-analyses could yield misleading results. Therefore, various guidelines have been suggested for conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses to help standardize them and improve their quality. Nonetheless, accepting the conclusions of many studies without understanding the meta-analysis can be dangerous. Therefore, this article provides an easy introduction to clinicians on performing and understanding meta-analyses.
A systematic review collects all possible studies related to a given topic and design, and reviews and analyzes their results [ 1 ]. During the systematic review process, the quality of studies is evaluated, and a statistical meta-analysis of the study results is conducted on the basis of their quality. A meta-analysis is a valid, objective, and scientific method of analyzing and combining different results. Usually, in order to obtain more reliable results, a meta-analysis is mainly conducted on randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which have a high level of evidence [ 2 ] ( Fig. 1 ). Since 1999, various papers have presented guidelines for reporting meta-analyses of RCTs. Following the Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses (QUORUM) statement [ 3 ], and the appearance of registers such as Cochrane Library’s Methodology Register, a large number of systematic literature reviews have been registered. In 2009, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement [ 4 ] was published, and it greatly helped standardize and improve the quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses [ 5 ].
Levels of evidence.
In anesthesiology, the importance of systematic reviews and meta-analyses has been highlighted, and they provide diagnostic and therapeutic value to various areas, including not only perioperative management but also intensive care and outpatient anesthesia [6–13]. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses include various topics, such as comparing various treatments of postoperative nausea and vomiting [ 14 , 15 ], comparing general anesthesia and regional anesthesia [ 16 – 18 ], comparing airway maintenance devices [ 8 , 19 ], comparing various methods of postoperative pain control (e.g., patient-controlled analgesia pumps, nerve block, or analgesics) [ 20 – 23 ], comparing the precision of various monitoring instruments [ 7 ], and meta-analysis of dose-response in various drugs [ 12 ].
Thus, literature reviews and meta-analyses are being conducted in diverse medical fields, and the aim of highlighting their importance is to help better extract accurate, good quality data from the flood of data being produced. However, a lack of understanding about systematic reviews and meta-analyses can lead to incorrect outcomes being derived from the review and analysis processes. If readers indiscriminately accept the results of the many meta-analyses that are published, incorrect data may be obtained. Therefore, in this review, we aim to describe the contents and methods used in systematic reviews and meta-analyses in a way that is easy to understand for future authors and readers of systematic review and meta-analysis.
It is easy to confuse systematic reviews and meta-analyses. A systematic review is an objective, reproducible method to find answers to a certain research question, by collecting all available studies related to that question and reviewing and analyzing their results. A meta-analysis differs from a systematic review in that it uses statistical methods on estimates from two or more different studies to form a pooled estimate [ 1 ]. Following a systematic review, if it is not possible to form a pooled estimate, it can be published as is without progressing to a meta-analysis; however, if it is possible to form a pooled estimate from the extracted data, a meta-analysis can be attempted. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses usually proceed according to the flowchart presented in Fig. 2 . We explain each of the stages below.
Flowchart illustrating a systematic review.
Formulating research questions
A systematic review attempts to gather all available empirical research by using clearly defined, systematic methods to obtain answers to a specific question. A meta-analysis is the statistical process of analyzing and combining results from several similar studies. Here, the definition of the word “similar” is not made clear, but when selecting a topic for the meta-analysis, it is essential to ensure that the different studies present data that can be combined. If the studies contain data on the same topic that can be combined, a meta-analysis can even be performed using data from only two studies. However, study selection via a systematic review is a precondition for performing a meta-analysis, and it is important to clearly define the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes (PICO) parameters that are central to evidence-based research. In addition, selection of the research topic is based on logical evidence, and it is important to select a topic that is familiar to readers without clearly confirmed the evidence [ 24 ].
Protocols and registration
In systematic reviews, prior registration of a detailed research plan is very important. In order to make the research process transparent, primary/secondary outcomes and methods are set in advance, and in the event of changes to the method, other researchers and readers are informed when, how, and why. Many studies are registered with an organization like PROSPERO ( http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/ ), and the registration number is recorded when reporting the study, in order to share the protocol at the time of planning.
Defining inclusion and exclusion criteria
Information is included on the study design, patient characteristics, publication status (published or unpublished), language used, and research period. If there is a discrepancy between the number of patients included in the study and the number of patients included in the analysis, this needs to be clearly explained while describing the patient characteristics, to avoid confusing the reader.
Literature search and study selection
In order to secure proper basis for evidence-based research, it is essential to perform a broad search that includes as many studies as possible that meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Typically, the three bibliographic databases Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) are used. In domestic studies, the Korean databases KoreaMed, KMBASE, and RISS4U may be included. Effort is required to identify not only published studies but also abstracts, ongoing studies, and studies awaiting publication. Among the studies retrieved in the search, the researchers remove duplicate studies, select studies that meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria based on the abstracts, and then make the final selection of studies based on their full text. In order to maintain transparency and objectivity throughout this process, study selection is conducted independently by at least two investigators. When there is a inconsistency in opinions, intervention is required via debate or by a third reviewer. The methods for this process also need to be planned in advance. It is essential to ensure the reproducibility of the literature selection process [ 25 ].
Quality of evidence
However, well planned the systematic review or meta-analysis is, if the quality of evidence in the studies is low, the quality of the meta-analysis decreases and incorrect results can be obtained [ 26 ]. Even when using randomized studies with a high quality of evidence, evaluating the quality of evidence precisely helps determine the strength of recommendations in the meta-analysis. One method of evaluating the quality of evidence in non-randomized studies is the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, provided by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute 1) . However, we are mostly focusing on meta-analyses that use randomized studies.
If the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) system ( http://www.gradeworkinggroup.org/ ) is used, the quality of evidence is evaluated on the basis of the study limitations, inaccuracies, incompleteness of outcome data, indirectness of evidence, and risk of publication bias, and this is used to determine the strength of recommendations [ 27 ]. As shown in Table 1 , the study limitations are evaluated using the “risk of bias” method proposed by Cochrane 2) . This method classifies bias in randomized studies as “low,” “high,” or “unclear” on the basis of the presence or absence of six processes (random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding participants or investigators, incomplete outcome data, selective reporting, and other biases) [ 28 ].
The Cochrane Collaboration’s Tool for Assessing the Risk of Bias [ 28 ]
Two different investigators extract data based on the objectives and form of the study; thereafter, the extracted data are reviewed. Since the size and format of each variable are different, the size and format of the outcomes are also different, and slight changes may be required when combining the data [ 29 ]. If there are differences in the size and format of the outcome variables that cause difficulties combining the data, such as the use of different evaluation instruments or different evaluation timepoints, the analysis may be limited to a systematic review. The investigators resolve differences of opinion by debate, and if they fail to reach a consensus, a third-reviewer is consulted.
The aim of a meta-analysis is to derive a conclusion with increased power and accuracy than what could not be able to achieve in individual studies. Therefore, before analysis, it is crucial to evaluate the direction of effect, size of effect, homogeneity of effects among studies, and strength of evidence [ 30 ]. Thereafter, the data are reviewed qualitatively and quantitatively. If it is determined that the different research outcomes cannot be combined, all the results and characteristics of the individual studies are displayed in a table or in a descriptive form; this is referred to as a qualitative review. A meta-analysis is a quantitative review, in which the clinical effectiveness is evaluated by calculating the weighted pooled estimate for the interventions in at least two separate studies.
The pooled estimate is the outcome of the meta-analysis, and is typically explained using a forest plot ( Figs. 3 and and4). 4 ). The black squares in the forest plot are the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals in each study. The area of the squares represents the weight reflected in the meta-analysis. The black diamond represents the OR and 95% confidence interval calculated across all the included studies. The bold vertical line represents a lack of therapeutic effect (OR = 1); if the confidence interval includes OR = 1, it means no significant difference was found between the treatment and control groups.
Forest plot analyzed by two different models using the same data. (A) Fixed-effect model. (B) Random-effect model. The figure depicts individual trials as filled squares with the relative sample size and the solid line as the 95% confidence interval of the difference. The diamond shape indicates the pooled estimate and uncertainty for the combined effect. The vertical line indicates the treatment group shows no effect (OR = 1). Moreover, if the confidence interval includes 1, then the result shows no evidence of difference between the treatment and control groups.
Forest plot representing homogeneous data.
Dichotomous variables and continuous variables
In data analysis, outcome variables can be considered broadly in terms of dichotomous variables and continuous variables. When combining data from continuous variables, the mean difference (MD) and standardized mean difference (SMD) are used ( Table 2 ).
Summary of Meta-analysis Methods Available in RevMan [ 28 ]
The MD is the absolute difference in mean values between the groups, and the SMD is the mean difference between groups divided by the standard deviation. When results are presented in the same units, the MD can be used, but when results are presented in different units, the SMD should be used. When the MD is used, the combined units must be shown. A value of “0” for the MD or SMD indicates that the effects of the new treatment method and the existing treatment method are the same. A value lower than “0” means the new treatment method is less effective than the existing method, and a value greater than “0” means the new treatment is more effective than the existing method.
When combining data for dichotomous variables, the OR, risk ratio (RR), or risk difference (RD) can be used. The RR and RD can be used for RCTs, quasi-experimental studies, or cohort studies, and the OR can be used for other case-control studies or cross-sectional studies. However, because the OR is difficult to interpret, using the RR and RD, if possible, is recommended. If the outcome variable is a dichotomous variable, it can be presented as the number needed to treat (NNT), which is the minimum number of patients who need to be treated in the intervention group, compared to the control group, for a given event to occur in at least one patient. Based on Table 3 , in an RCT, if x is the probability of the event occurring in the control group and y is the probability of the event occurring in the intervention group, then x = c/(c + d), y = a/(a + b), and the absolute risk reduction (ARR) = x − y. NNT can be obtained as the reciprocal, 1/ARR.
Calculation of the Number Needed to Treat in the Dichotomous table
Fixed-effect models and random-effect models
In order to analyze effect size, two types of models can be used: a fixed-effect model or a random-effect model. A fixed-effect model assumes that the effect of treatment is the same, and that variation between results in different studies is due to random error. Thus, a fixed-effect model can be used when the studies are considered to have the same design and methodology, or when the variability in results within a study is small, and the variance is thought to be due to random error. Three common methods are used for weighted estimation in a fixed-effect model: 1) inverse variance-weighted estimation 3) , 2) Mantel-Haenszel estimation 4) , and 3) Peto estimation 5) .
A random-effect model assumes heterogeneity between the studies being combined, and these models are used when the studies are assumed different, even if a heterogeneity test does not show a significant result. Unlike a fixed-effect model, a random-effect model assumes that the size of the effect of treatment differs among studies. Thus, differences in variation among studies are thought to be due to not only random error but also between-study variability in results. Therefore, weight does not decrease greatly for studies with a small number of patients. Among methods for weighted estimation in a random-effect model, the DerSimonian and Laird method 6) is mostly used for dichotomous variables, as the simplest method, while inverse variance-weighted estimation is used for continuous variables, as with fixed-effect models. These four methods are all used in Review Manager software (The Cochrane Collaboration, UK), and are described in a study by Deeks et al. [ 31 ] ( Table 2 ). However, when the number of studies included in the analysis is less than 10, the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method 7) can better reduce the risk of type 1 error than does the DerSimonian and Laird method [ 32 ].
Fig. 3 shows the results of analyzing outcome data using a fixed-effect model (A) and a random-effect model (B). As shown in Fig. 3 , while the results from large studies are weighted more heavily in the fixed-effect model, studies are given relatively similar weights irrespective of study size in the random-effect model. Although identical data were being analyzed, as shown in Fig. 3 , the significant result in the fixed-effect model was no longer significant in the random-effect model. One representative example of the small study effect in a random-effect model is the meta-analysis by Li et al. [ 33 ]. In a large-scale study, intravenous injection of magnesium was unrelated to acute myocardial infarction, but in the random-effect model, which included numerous small studies, the small study effect resulted in an association being found between intravenous injection of magnesium and myocardial infarction. This small study effect can be controlled for by using a sensitivity analysis, which is performed to examine the contribution of each of the included studies to the final meta-analysis result. In particular, when heterogeneity is suspected in the study methods or results, by changing certain data or analytical methods, this method makes it possible to verify whether the changes affect the robustness of the results, and to examine the causes of such effects [ 34 ].
Homogeneity test is a method whether the degree of heterogeneity is greater than would be expected to occur naturally when the effect size calculated from several studies is higher than the sampling error. This makes it possible to test whether the effect size calculated from several studies is the same. Three types of homogeneity tests can be used: 1) forest plot, 2) Cochrane’s Q test (chi-squared), and 3) Higgins I 2 statistics. In the forest plot, as shown in Fig. 4 , greater overlap between the confidence intervals indicates greater homogeneity. For the Q statistic, when the P value of the chi-squared test, calculated from the forest plot in Fig. 4 , is less than 0.1, it is considered to show statistical heterogeneity and a random-effect can be used. Finally, I 2 can be used [ 35 ].
I 2 , calculated as shown above, returns a value between 0 and 100%. A value less than 25% is considered to show strong homogeneity, a value of 50% is average, and a value greater than 75% indicates strong heterogeneity.
Even when the data cannot be shown to be homogeneous, a fixed-effect model can be used, ignoring the heterogeneity, and all the study results can be presented individually, without combining them. However, in many cases, a random-effect model is applied, as described above, and a subgroup analysis or meta-regression analysis is performed to explain the heterogeneity. In a subgroup analysis, the data are divided into subgroups that are expected to be homogeneous, and these subgroups are analyzed. This needs to be planned in the predetermined protocol before starting the meta-analysis. A meta-regression analysis is similar to a normal regression analysis, except that the heterogeneity between studies is modeled. This process involves performing a regression analysis of the pooled estimate for covariance at the study level, and so it is usually not considered when the number of studies is less than 10. Here, univariate and multivariate regression analyses can both be considered.
Publication bias is the most common type of reporting bias in meta-analyses. This refers to the distortion of meta-analysis outcomes due to the higher likelihood of publication of statistically significant studies rather than non-significant studies. In order to test the presence or absence of publication bias, first, a funnel plot can be used ( Fig. 5 ). Studies are plotted on a scatter plot with effect size on the x-axis and precision or total sample size on the y-axis. If the points form an upside-down funnel shape, with a broad base that narrows towards the top of the plot, this indicates the absence of a publication bias ( Fig. 5A ) [ 29 , 36 ]. On the other hand, if the plot shows an asymmetric shape, with no points on one side of the graph, then publication bias can be suspected ( Fig. 5B ). Second, to test publication bias statistically, Begg and Mazumdar’s rank correlation test 8) [ 37 ] or Egger’s test 9) [ 29 ] can be used. If publication bias is detected, the trim-and-fill method 10) can be used to correct the bias [ 38 ]. Fig. 6 displays results that show publication bias in Egger’s test, which has then been corrected using the trim-and-fill method using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software (Biostat, USA).
Funnel plot showing the effect size on the x-axis and sample size on the y-axis as a scatter plot. (A) Funnel plot without publication bias. The individual plots are broader at the bottom and narrower at the top. (B) Funnel plot with publication bias. The individual plots are located asymmetrically.
Funnel plot adjusted using the trim-and-fill method. White circles: comparisons included. Black circles: inputted comparisons using the trim-and-fill method. White diamond: pooled observed log risk ratio. Black diamond: pooled inputted log risk ratio.
When reporting the results of a systematic review or meta-analysis, the analytical content and methods should be described in detail. First, a flowchart is displayed with the literature search and selection process according to the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Second, a table is shown with the characteristics of the included studies. A table should also be included with information related to the quality of evidence, such as GRADE ( Table 4 ). Third, the results of data analysis are shown in a forest plot and funnel plot. Fourth, if the results use dichotomous data, the NNT values can be reported, as described above.
The GRADE Evidence Quality for Each Outcome
N: number of studies, ROB: risk of bias, PON: postoperative nausea, POV: postoperative vomiting, PONV: postoperative nausea and vomiting, CI: confidence interval, RR: risk ratio, AR: absolute risk.
When Review Manager software (The Cochrane Collaboration, UK) is used for the analysis, two types of P values are given. The first is the P value from the z-test, which tests the null hypothesis that the intervention has no effect. The second P value is from the chi-squared test, which tests the null hypothesis for a lack of heterogeneity. The statistical result for the intervention effect, which is generally considered the most important result in meta-analyses, is the z-test P value.
A common mistake when reporting results is, given a z-test P value greater than 0.05, to say there was “no statistical significance” or “no difference.” When evaluating statistical significance in a meta-analysis, a P value lower than 0.05 can be explained as “a significant difference in the effects of the two treatment methods.” However, the P value may appear non-significant whether or not there is a difference between the two treatment methods. In such a situation, it is better to announce “there was no strong evidence for an effect,” and to present the P value and confidence intervals. Another common mistake is to think that a smaller P value is indicative of a more significant effect. In meta-analyses of large-scale studies, the P value is more greatly affected by the number of studies and patients included, rather than by the significance of the results; therefore, care should be taken when interpreting the results of a meta-analysis.
When performing a systematic literature review or meta-analysis, if the quality of studies is not properly evaluated or if proper methodology is not strictly applied, the results can be biased and the outcomes can be incorrect. However, when systematic reviews and meta-analyses are properly implemented, they can yield powerful results that could usually only be achieved using large-scale RCTs, which are difficult to perform in individual studies. As our understanding of evidence-based medicine increases and its importance is better appreciated, the number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses will keep increasing. However, indiscriminate acceptance of the results of all these meta-analyses can be dangerous, and hence, we recommend that their results be received critically on the basis of a more accurate understanding.
1) http://www.ohri.ca .
2) http://methods.cochrane.org/bias/assessing-risk-bias-included-studies .
3) The inverse variance-weighted estimation method is useful if the number of studies is small with large sample sizes.
4) The Mantel-Haenszel estimation method is useful if the number of studies is large with small sample sizes.
5) The Peto estimation method is useful if the event rate is low or one of the two groups shows zero incidence.
6) The most popular and simplest statistical method used in Review Manager and Comprehensive Meta-analysis software.
7) Alternative random-effect model meta-analysis that has more adequate error rates than does the common DerSimonian and Laird method, especially when the number of studies is small. However, even with the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method, when there are less than five studies with very unequal sizes, extra caution is needed.
8) The Begg and Mazumdar rank correlation test uses the correlation between the ranks of effect sizes and the ranks of their variances [ 37 ].
9) The degree of funnel plot asymmetry as measured by the intercept from the regression of standard normal deviates against precision [ 29 ].
10) If there are more small studies on one side, we expect the suppression of studies on the other side. Trimming yields the adjusted effect size and reduces the variance of the effects by adding the original studies back into the analysis as a mirror image of each study.
Review of Related Literature: What Is RRL & How to Write It + Examples
A review of related literature is a separate paper or a part of an article that collects and synthesizes discussion on a topic. Its purpose is to show the current state of research on the issue and highlight gaps in existing knowledge. A literature review can be included in a research paper or scholarly article, typically following the introduction and before the research methods section.
This article will clarify the definition, significance, and structure of a review of related literature. You’ll also learn how to organize your literature review and discover ideas for an RRL in different subjects.
🔤 What Is RRL?
- ❗ Significance of Literature Review
- 🔎 How to Search for Literature
- 🧩 Literature Review Structure
- ✍️ How to Write an RRL
- 📚 Examples of RRL
A review of related literature (RRL) is a part of the research report that examines significant studies, theories, and concepts published in scholarly sources on a particular topic. An RRL includes 3 main components:
- A short overview and critique of the previous research.
- Similarities and differences between past studies and the current one.
- An explanation of the theoretical frameworks underpinning the research.
❗ Significance of Review of Related Literature
Although the goal of a review of related literature differs depending on the discipline and its intended use, its significance cannot be overstated. Here are some examples of how a review might be beneficial:
- It helps determine knowledge gaps .
- It saves from duplicating research that has already been conducted.
- It provides an overview of various research areas within the discipline.
- It demonstrates the researcher’s familiarity with the topic.
🔎 How to Perform a Literature Search
Including a description of your search strategy in the literature review section can significantly increase your grade. You can search sources with the following steps:
🧩 Literature Review Structure Example
The majority of literature reviews follow a standard introduction-body-conclusion structure. Let’s look at the RRL structure in detail.
Introduction of Review of Related Literature: Sample
An introduction should clarify the study topic and the depth of the information to be delivered. It should also explain the types of sources used. If your lit. review is part of a larger research proposal or project, you can combine its introductory paragraph with the introduction of your paper.
Here is a sample introduction to an RRL about cyberbullying:
Bullying has troubled people since the beginning of time. However, with modern technological advancements, especially social media, bullying has evolved into cyberbullying. As a result, nowadays, teenagers and adults cannot flee their bullies, which makes them feel lonely and helpless. This literature review will examine recent studies on cyberbullying.
Sample Review of Related Literature Thesis
A thesis statement should include the central idea of your literature review and the primary supporting elements you discovered in the literature. Thesis statements are typically put at the end of the introductory paragraph.
Look at a sample thesis of a review of related literature:
This literature review shows that scholars have recently covered the issues of bullies’ motivation, the impact of bullying on victims and aggressors, common cyberbullying techniques, and victims’ coping strategies. However, there is still no agreement on the best practices to address cyberbullying.
Literature Review Body Paragraph Example
The main body of a literature review should provide an overview of the existing research on the issue. Body paragraphs should not just summarize each source but analyze them. You can organize your paragraphs with these 3 elements:
- Claim . Start with a topic sentence linked to your literature review purpose.
- Evidence . Cite relevant information from your chosen sources.
- Discussion . Explain how the cited data supports your claim.
Here’s a literature review body paragraph example:
Scholars have examined the link between the aggressor and the victim. Beran et al. (2007) state that students bullied online often become cyberbullies themselves. Faucher et al. (2014) confirm this with their findings: they discovered that male and female students began engaging in cyberbullying after being subject to bullying. Hence, one can conclude that being a victim of bullying increases one’s likelihood of becoming a cyberbully.
Review of Related Literature: Conclusion
A conclusion presents a general consensus on the topic. Depending on your literature review purpose, it might include the following:
- Introduction to further research . If you write a literature review as part of a larger research project, you can present your research question in your conclusion .
- Overview of theories . You can summarize critical theories and concepts to help your reader understand the topic better.
- Discussion of the gap . If you identified a research gap in the reviewed literature, your conclusion could explain why that gap is significant.
Check out a conclusion example that discusses a research gap:
There is extensive research into bullies’ motivation, the consequences of bullying for victims and aggressors, strategies for bullying, and coping with it. Yet, scholars still have not reached a consensus on what to consider the best practices to combat cyberbullying. This question is of great importance because of the significant adverse effects of cyberbullying on victims and bullies.
✍️ How to Write Review of Related Literature – Sample
Literature reviews can be organized in many ways depending on what you want to achieve with them. In this section, we will look at 3 examples of how you can write your RRL.
Thematic Literature Review
A thematic literature review is arranged around central themes or issues discussed in the sources. If you have identified some recurring themes in the literature, you can divide your RRL into sections that address various aspects of the topic. For example, if you examine studies on e-learning, you can distinguish such themes as the cost-effectiveness of online learning, the technologies used, and its effectiveness compared to traditional education.
Chronological Literature Review
A chronological literature review is a way to track the development of the topic over time. If you use this method, avoid merely listing and summarizing sources in chronological order. Instead, try to analyze the trends, turning moments, and critical debates that have shaped the field’s path. Also, you can give your interpretation of how and why specific advances occurred.
Methodological Literature Review
A methodological literature review differs from the preceding ones in that it usually doesn’t focus on the sources’ content. Instead, it is concerned with the research methods . So, if your references come from several disciplines or fields employing various research techniques, you can compare the findings and conclusions of different methodologies, for instance:
- empirical vs. theoretical studies;
- qualitative vs. quantitative research.
📚 Examples of Review of Related Literature and Studies
Have you ever struggled with finding the topic for an RRL in different subjects? Read the following paragraphs to get some ideas!
Nursing Literature Review Example
Many topics in the nursing field require research. For example, you can write a review of literature related to dengue fever . Give a general overview of dengue virus infections, including its clinical symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and therapy.
Another good idea is to review related literature and studies about teenage pregnancy . This review can describe the effectiveness of specific programs for adolescent mothers and their children and summarize recommendations for preventing early pregnancy.
📝 Check out some more valuable examples below:
- Hospital Readmissions: Literature Review .
- Literature Review: Lower Sepsis Mortality Rates .
- Breast Cancer: Literature Review .
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Literature Review .
- PICO for Pressure Ulcers: Literature Review .
- COVID-19 Spread Prevention: Literature Review .
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Literature Review .
- Hypertension Treatment Adherence: Literature Review .
- Neonatal Sepsis Prevention: Literature Review .
- Healthcare-Associated Infections: Literature Review .
- Understaffing in Nursing: Literature Review .
Psychology Literature Review Example
If you look for an RRL topic in psychology , you can write a review of related literature about stress . Summarize scientific evidence about stress stages, side effects, types, or reduction strategies. Or you can write a review of related literature about computer game addiction . In this case, you may concentrate on the neural mechanisms underlying the internet gaming disorder, compare it to other addictions, or evaluate treatment strategies.
A review of related literature about cyberbullying is another interesting option. You can highlight the impact of cyberbullying on undergraduate students’ academic, social, and emotional development.
📝 Look at the examples that we have prepared for you to come up with some more ideas:
- Mindfulness in Counseling: A Literature Review .
- Team-Building Across Cultures: Literature Review .
- Anxiety and Decision Making: Literature Review .
- Literature Review on Depression .
- Literature Review on Narcissism .
- Effects of Depression Among Adolescents .
- Causes and Effects of Anxiety in Children .
Literature Review — Sociology Example
Sociological research poses critical questions about social structures and phenomena. For example, you can write a review of related literature about child labor , exploring cultural beliefs and social norms that normalize the exploitation of children. Or you can create a review of related literature about social media . It can investigate the impact of social media on relationships between adolescents or the role of social networks on immigrants’ acculturation .
📝 You can find some more ideas below!
- Single Mothers’ Experiences of Relationships with Their Adolescent Sons .
- Teachers and Students’ Gender-Based Interactions .
- Gender Identity: Biological Perspective and Social Cognitive Theory .
- Gender: Culturally-Prescribed Role or Biological Sex .
- The Influence of Opioid Misuse on Academic Achievement of Veteran Students .
- The Importance of Ethics in Research .
- The Role of Family and Social Network Support in Mental Health .
Education Literature Review Example
For your education studies , you can write a review of related literature about academic performance to determine factors that affect student achievement and highlight research gaps. One more idea is to create a review of related literature on study habits , considering their role in the student’s life and academic outcomes.
You can also evaluate a computerized grading system in a review of related literature to single out its advantages and barriers to implementation. Or you can complete a review of related literature on instructional materials to identify their most common types and effects on student achievement.
📝 Find some inspiration in the examples below:
- Literature Review on Online Learning Challenges From COVID-19 .
- Education, Leadership, and Management: Literature Review .
- Literature Review: Standardized Testing Bias .
- Bullying of Disabled Children in School .
- Interventions and Letter & Sound Recognition: A Literature Review .
- Social-Emotional Skills Program for Preschoolers .
- Effectiveness of Educational Leadership Management Skills .
Business Research Literature Review
If you’re a business student, you can focus on customer satisfaction in your review of related literature. Discuss specific customer satisfaction features and how it is affected by service quality and prices. You can also create a theoretical literature review about consumer buying behavior to evaluate theories that have significantly contributed to understanding how consumers make purchasing decisions.
📝 Look at the examples to get more exciting ideas:
- Leadership and Communication: Literature Review .
- Human Resource Development: Literature Review .
- Project Management. Literature Review .
- Strategic HRM: A Literature Review .
- Customer Relationship Management: Literature Review .
- Literature Review on International Financial Reporting Standards .
- Cultures of Management: Literature Review .
To conclude, a review of related literature is a significant genre of scholarly works that can be applied in various disciplines and for multiple goals. The sources examined in an RRL provide theoretical frameworks for future studies and help create original research questions and hypotheses.
When you finish your outstanding literature review, don’t forget to check whether it sounds logical and coherent. Our text-to-speech tool can help you with that!
- Literature Reviews | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Writing a Literature Review | Purdue Online Writing Lab
- Learn How to Write a Review of Literature | University of Wisconsin-Madison
- The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It | University of Toronto
- Writing a Literature Review | UC San Diego
- Conduct a Literature Review | The University of Arizona
- Methods for Literature Reviews | National Library of Medicine
- Literature Reviews: 5. Write the Review | Georgia State University
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What is the difference between related studies and related literature in research?
When we say related literature, we are pertaining to written informations about a certain subject of interest which will include those of the books, journals, articles, and internet resources. While when we say related studies, these are focused on the discussion regarding a certain phenomena that could be testable descriptively or experimentally, so it's not just based on information but through inferences.
Aleah Ponghon ∙
When we say related literature, we are pertaining to written information about a certain subject of interest which will include those of the books, journals, articles, and internet resources. While when we say related studies, these are focused on the discussion regarding some certain phenomena that could be testable descriptively or experimentally, so it's not just based on information but through inferences.
Jaycee Emard ∙
Related literature and related studies is the information from studies similar to a research study. This gives good background information for the study and highlights existing gaps. The information is also contained in the literature review of a study.
It means to look up details in books,or records, not necessarily part of your official research, but will help you to understand from a different point of view
Abegail Legara ∙
Add your answer:
What is the Difference between empirical literature and theoretical literature review?
It is the literatures,or previuos studies that relate or argue positively with your studies hypothesis and variables A Literature review can also include systematic identification, location, and analysis of documents containing information related to a research problem under investigation.
What is research in literature?
Related literature is literature that is available on a specific subject whether published or unpublished.
Where can you get a sample Research proposal for PhD in English Literature?
caal to related professor
What is the difference between literature and biology?
Literature is great and classical writing that means something to those who read it. Biology is the study of the body systems of animals. The two terms are really not related.
What is difference between Operations Research and Operational Research?
operations research means research on topics related to operations while operational research means research in on operating mode. The former is a term representing a subject of research, the later is showing the status of research.
What is related literature in research?
There are many kinds of literature in a subject. The literature depends on its subject.But this literature depends on the topic research.HERE ARE THE TWO KINDS OF RELATED LITERATURE: 1.CONCEPTUAL LITERATURE-this kind of literature is written by authorities expressing or giving their opinions, theories, experiences, emotions etc. It is from the word concept. 2.RESEARCH LITERATURE-this kind of literature is an actual literature. It means repeating to search ...research.. -shantal tubalado - (to all the people who knows me,please ayaw mo panghinaway sa akong answer kay mao man gud nah akong nasabtan sa topic namo a while ago)... :)
Meaning of review of related literature?
The review of related involves the systamatic identification location and analysis of documents containing information related to the research problem.
What is the difference between related substances and degradation product?
what is the difference between degradation products and related substances
How is the distance between two rational numbers related to their difference?
Directly. Their difference IS the difference between them.
What is the difference between related to and related with?
"Related to" is idiomatically correct English. "Related with" is not.
What is difference beween Research Proposal and Synopsis?
the basic difference between a research proposal and research synopsis is of nature. a synopsis is related to education while a proposal is to commercial research. the purpose of both terms is same and almost all the contents are also the same. posted by Zahid Iqbal Shahzad m.phil english linguistics 0344-6622744
What is the difference in km between the earth and the sun?
Difference between what? See related question