A literature review is an evaluative report of information found in the literature related to your selected area of study. The review should describe, summarize, evaluate and clarify this literature. It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you (the author) determine the nature of your research.
In writing the literature review, the purpose is to convey to the reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (eg. your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries.
While the form of literature review may vary with different types of studies the basic purpose of literature review remain constant.
The following are purpose of conducting literature review in research:
- It justify the research
- It ensure that the research has not been done before
- It shows where the study fits into existing body of knowledge
- Literature review enable researcher to learn from previous theory on the subject.
- It illustrate how the subject has been studied before
- Literature review highlight the flaws in previous research
- Literature review show gaps in previous research
- Literature help to show how the conducted study is adding to understanding and knowledge of the field.
- It help refine, refocus or even change the research topic