What is literature review?
It involves methodical classification, location and study of documents/material containing information associated with the research problem being examined.
Why should we conduct literature review when conducting research?
- Disclose what approaches, activities and instruments have been established to be handy in examining the problem under study
- Literature review will recommend additional actions and strategies to be explored
- Familiarize with previous studies, thus facilitate interpretation of the study results.
- Avoid unnecessary and unintentional duplication
- Outline the structure within which the study findings are to be understood
- Acquire and demonstrate familiarity with the existing body of knowledge
- Literature review helps to limit scope of the problem under study and to enhance its identification.
- Helps stimulates new ideas.
- Literature review brings together and sum up what is known in a field. A review breaks down and combines different study findings, revealing gaps in information and fields where significant questions still linger
How to conduct literature review for your study?
- Be very familiar with the source of literature.
- Make a list of key words or phrases to direct your search for the literature.
- Use the key words and phrases to locate relevant material for the study.
- Summarize the references for easy organization of the literature
- The data should be analyzed after collection and reported in an organized manner.
- Develop an outline of the core topics or themes for purposes of clear presentation.
- Studies opposing the perceived knowledge should not be ignored when conducting the literature review. Explanations should be provided for such studies to understand the reasons behind the differences and also account for the divergent views in future studies.
- The general literature encountered should be recorded first as the study proceeds to narrow down to more specific areas of the research problem. This should finally lead the researcher in the establishment of testable hypotheses.
According to Miles and Huberman (1994), the conceptual framework offers a snapshot of what is actually being studied, showing a representation of the main concepts the key factors, constructs or variables – and the presumed relationships among them. This is achieved by use of diagrams which are most preferred in most cases.
Simple steps to developing a conceptual framework
Create a diagram of the topic that includes clearly defined variables (independent, dependent, etc.) along with the relationships of those variables and key factors that influence the variables and the relationships. This task is often done in conjunction with the development of the research questions and it is an iterative process.