I’ve been tweaking my literature review workflow for a while, but as I write up the current section and start planning the remaining sections, I’m finally feeling like I have a handle on things. Today I’m ready to share it with you, in hopes it will make your own writing go more smoothly.
A literature review is not an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is a document in which you briefly summarize briefly each article that you have reviewed. The literature review does contain a summary of your research, but it goes beyond the typical annotated bibliography by focusing on a specific topic of interest and includes a critical analysis of the relationship among different works, and relating this research to your work.
Ian O’Byrne summarises eight points to work through in thinking about literature review:
- Define a topic and audience
- Iteratively search and re-search the literature
- Take notes as you read
- Consider the type of review you’re writing
- Keep your review focused, but also broad
- Think critically and be consistent
- Develop a logical structure to your argument
- Use critical feedback as your guide
I never knew that literature reviews were so nuanced. Along with his post on annotated bibliographies, these resources are those to save for a later time.