Chapter 5: Literature Reviews and Scholarly Conversation
What is a literature review?
A literature review is an evaluation of published literature on a specific topic. When writing a review of literature, you will read as much material as you can find on the topic you’ve selected and write about it. This typically consists of books and scholarly articles written by experts. While conducting your review, you’ll find patterns and also you may notice gaps in the research that can be studied in the future.
There are a few ways to organize your literature review, but what is appropriate may be determined by the topic. Each of the four ways identified below will allow you to identify patterns in literature:
- Chronologically: Order your review from oldest material to most recent material.
- Thematically: Structure your review by identified themes or patterns.
- Methodologically: Organize your content in a similar way to how the content itself is organized.
- Theoretically: Categorize your review of the literature by different theories.
To help you do this, it may be beneficial to use a literature grid. This grid can help you organize your information and find the patterns. Below is a sample of a literature grid. Select the double pointed arrow in the upper right corner to enlarge. If you follow this link, you can download a template in Excel from Griffith University and learn more about how to organize your research literature. For more information on how to write a literature review see the resources at the end of this chapter.
Scholarly conversation is the existing research on a topic. Research may present opinions that defend or refute the current conversation. The research may show how a conversation has evolved over time, including new perspectives and diverse ideas.
There’s an easy three-step process involved in a scholarly conversation:
- Pre-Research: Review what is currently being shared regarding your research topic. Who is doing the talking? What are the key points?
- Establishing a Claim: Determine your own opinion and find relevant research that supports that claim.
- Evaluate Resources: What stance will you take on an issue? Start engaging in the conversation with the resources you have located then compare and contrast their relevance and relationships.
Tips and Tricks for Conducting a Literature Review
Select the double-pointed arrow in the upper right corner to enlarge.
Additional Resources for Literature Reviews:
Dermody, K., Farnum, C., Jakubek, D., Petropoulos, J., Schmidt, J. and R. Steinberg (n.d.). Advanced research skills: Conducting literature and systematic reviews. Toronto Metropolitan University. https://pressbooks.library.ryerson.ca/graduatereviews/chapter/things-to-keep-in-mind-when-conducting-a-literature-review/
Montana State University Library. (2022, June 2). Literature reviews. Montana State University Library Guides. https://guides.lib.montana.edu/literaturereviews/writinglitreview
City University of Seattle Library (2022, February 18). Research methods and design. City University of Seattle Library Research Guides. https://library.cityu.edu/researchguides/researchmethods/litreview
References for Remixed Content:
Griffith University (2022). Organize your research literature. Griffith University Library. https://www.griffith.edu.au/library/research-publishing/working-with-literature/organise-your-research-literature
PALNI (2022, June 3). Literature reviews. PALNI Information Literacy Modules. https://libguides.palni.edu/instruction_resources/ILModule13
PALNI (2022, June 3). Scholarly conversation. PALNI Information Literacy Modules https://libguides.palni.edu/instruction_resources/ILModule14