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As I come to the end of my undergraduate studies, one of the things I initially used to struggle with at the beginning of it was writing a literature review. I developed an outline for writing a literature review which hopefully can be possibly useful to others. Depending on the context of your literature review, not all aspects listed below need to be utilised in this respect.

The outline:

  • Hypothesis?
  • Explains why topic is important
  • Studies are listed in alphabetical order.
    • Gives reader an idea of what the paper will cover.
  • Focuses only on reviewing literature that support hypothesis. (Also if it disagrees with it?)
  • Descriptions of the prior studies should always be in the past tense because the study has already occurred.
  • Notice that not a lot of detail is given about how the study was conducted. Instead, the description focuses on the rationale behind the study. (Recognise the theory behind what I am writing)
  • Notice that the author focuses on the main findings that related to the hypothesis stated earlier.
  • Author points out relevant methodological issues that may have affected findings.
    • Decided methodology, needs to stay as that, on topic. Needs to sequential.
  • Find connections between papers and describe them appropriately.
  • Discuss findings and how they relate to hypothesis.
  • Point out limitations that affect the study's validity. Don't go out my way to explain why it won't work unless its relevant.
  • Do findings contradict hypothesis.
  • Conclusion sums up the main findings on the literature review and gives suggestions as to what future research should focus on.

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