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The Literature Review
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The Literature Review
A Step-by-Step Guide for Students

Second Edition
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July 2012 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This Second Edition of Diana Ridley's bestselling guide to the literature review provides a step-by-step guide to conducting a literature search and literature review, and guides the reader in how to write up a literature review as part of a PhD thesis or Masters dissertation.

Ridley outlines practical strategies for reading and note taking, and guides the reader on how to conduct a systematic search of the available literature, and uses cases and examples throughout to demonstrate best practice in writing and presenting the review.

New to this edition are examples drawn from a wide range of disciplines, a new chapter on conducting a systematic review, increased coverage of issues of evaluating quality and conducting reviews using online sources and online literature and enhanced guidance in dealing with copyright and permissions issues.

This book also comes with a companion website containing a wide range of examples of successful literature reviews from a wide range of academic disciplines.


 
Introduction
What Is A Literature Review?

 
The Literature Review At Different Degree Levels

 
Why Is It Important To Undertake A Literature Review As Part Of Your Research?

 
Where Do We Find The Literature Review In A Dissertation Or Thesis?

 
Structuring Your Literature Review

 
Task 1.1 Choosing A Literature Review Approach

 
Summary

 
Overview

 
 
The Multiple Purposes of a Literature Review
The Multiple Purposes

 
Historical Background

 
Contemporary Context

 
Theoretical Underpinnings

 
Definitions And Discussion Of Terminology Used In The Research

 
Signalling A Gap In Previous Research And Using This To Justify Your Own

 
The Significance Of A Problem For Research

 
Task 2.1 Reflecting On Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
 
Sources of Information and Conducting Searches
What Is A Literature Search?

 
What Are The Purposes Of A Literature Search?

 
Sources Of Information

 
Evaluating Online Sources Of Information

 
Different Types Of Research

 
Tools For Finding Relevant Sources

 
The Process Of Conducting A Literature Search

 
The Use Of Key Words And Boolean Logic

 
Keeping Up To Date: RSS Feeds And Email Alerts

 
Social Bookmarking

 
Task 3.1 Tracking And Recording Your Search

 
Summary

 
 
Reading and Note-Taking Strategies
Techniques For Reading Efficiently

 
Increasing Your Reading Speed

 
Reasons For Note Taking

 
Techniques For Note Taking

 
Three Main Formats for Note Taking

 
Your Own Comments

 
Handwritten Notes VS Computer Notes

 
Making Connections Between Different Texts: Using Key Words

 
Making Connections Between Different Texts: A Tabular Comparison

 
Techniques For Writing A Summary

 
Task 4.1 Applying The Principles To Your Field

 
Summary

 
 
Reference Management: Keeping Records and Organising Information
Managing The Process

 
A Record of Key Word Searches

 
A Record of Bibliographic Details

 
A Personal Library

 
Copyright Legislation

 
Bibliographical Software Packages

 
Task 5.1 Record Keeping For Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
 
Structuring the Literature Review
The Processes Involved In The Creation Of A Literature Review

 
Beginning To Write

 
The Structure Of The Literature Review

 
Developing The Structure Of Your Review

 
Task 6.1 Structuring Your Own Literature Review

 
The Relationship Between The Introduction And The Literature Review

 
Task 6.2 Reflecting On Your Own Research Field

 
Summary

 
 
In-Text Citations
Why Do We Reference?

 
What Is Plagiarism?

 
What Type Of Information Requires A Reference?

 
Referencing Systems

 
Integral And Non-Integral References

 
Disciplinary Differences in Refernce Type

 
Types Of Citation

 
Disciplinary Difference in Citation Type

 
Choice Of Reporting Verb

 
Disciplinary Difference in Reporting Verbs

 
Tense Of Reporting Verb

 
Choice Of Tense In The Clause Or Sentence Where The Information Is Reported

 
Effective And Unacceptable Citations

 
Text Matching Software: Turnitin

 
Task 7.1 Analysing Reference Techniques In Your Own Research Field

 
Summary

 
 
Being Critical
The Difference Between Critical Reading And Critical Writing

 
Being Critical In Writing

 
How Different Researchers Adopt A Critical Approach In Their Writing

 
Task 8.1 Critical Writing In Your Own Research Field

 
Summary

 
 
Foregrounding Writer Voice in Your Writing
What Is Writer Voice?

 
The Organisation Of The Text

 
Unattributed Assertions Followed by Support from Citations

 
Summary and Evaluation of Source Material

 
Overall Summary at End of Section or Chapter

 
The Use Of Personal Pronouns

 
The Choice Of Citation Pattern

 
The Evaluative Potential Of Different Reporting Verbs

 
Evaluative Adjectives, Adverbs And Phrases

 
A Mixture Of Evaluative Strategies

 
Task 9.1 Reflecting On The Writer's Voice In Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
 
The Continuing Process
The Literature Review Process

 
Referring To The Literature In Your Discussion Chapter

 
Task 10.1 Reflecting On Making The Connections In Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
Findings Support an Existing Theory

 
Comparing a New Model and an Existing Theory

 
Explaining a Finding Using the Literature

 
Contribution of Current Research to Exisiting Theory

 
Interpreting the Data Using the Literature

 
Application of Theory to the Findings

 
Summary

 
 
A Systematic Literature Review
What Is A Systematic Literature Review?

 
The Process Of Conducting A Systematic Literature Review

 
What Is A Meta-Analysis?

 
Narrative Synthesis

 
An Example Of A Systematic Review

 
Appraisal Of A Systematic Review

 
Task 11.1 Searching For And Critiquing A Systematic Literature Review In Your Field

 
Summary

 
Further Reading

 
 
Conclusion
 
Electronic Guides
 
References
 
Index

Supplements

SAGE Study Skills hub

Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

'The Literature Review is a clearly written and easily accessible self-guided introduction packed with detailed examples. It's especially useful for budding researchers unfamiliar with crafting literature reviews that support strong theory development and empirical testing. I recommend it to every first-year doctoral student' -
Michael R. Hyman
Distinguished Achievement Professor, New Mexico State University


This text will support our trainees with their M-level study. A very useful text.

Ms Lis Bundock
Education, Brighton University
July 24, 2015

My students have found this book so helpful. The step-by-step approach offers clarity and helps build students' confidence in conducting a literature review.

Dr Dzintra Stalmeisters
Counselor Education , Derby University
April 21, 2015

Thank you very much for this insepction copy. This book is current and comprehensive. It includes useful consideration of referencing software. It has a particulalry easy to follow format with lots of text boxes and excercises. It is particularly useful for those new to literature searching.

Annie Pettifer
Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Coventry University
March 11, 2015

This is an excellent book, clearly written and suitable for undergraduate students.

It outlines the purpose of literature review and gives good information about note taking and how be critical.

This book should help my students with the part of the research process to often struggle with.

Mr Peter Wisener
Hospitality Tourism and Sport, North West Institute
July 1, 2014

Excellent guide. A must read for postgraduate learners.

Ms Melody Harrogate
EHS, Derby univeristy
June 10, 2014

This book provides detailed insights into carrying out the reserach for a literature review. Also it provides excellent step-by-step guidance in the writing process.

Dr EIRA WYN PATTERSON
Faculty of Education, Winchester University
April 23, 2014

Helpful for students at all levels. The framework is useful for students trying to grasp a complicated procedure. The systematic literature review chapter is a nice addition. A great resource for students.

Miss Rebecca Wheeler
Department of Psychology, Coventry University
April 7, 2014

A good introduction for undergraduates and above.

Mr Dave Langcaster
Faculty of Business & Science, Hull College
March 22, 2014

This was an interesting and easy to use book

Mr Maurice Slaven
Family & Community Studies Department, Anglia Ruskin University
March 20, 2014

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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