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The Literature Review

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

Second Edition
Additional resources:

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.

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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
Further Reading  
Electronic Guides


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'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.

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

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