The Literature Review in Research

Once the research problem is identified and its delimitation made, review of literature is carried out. Sometimes literature review helps in problem identification. But this may be referred to as research reconnaissance. Literature Review means a review or study of literature relevant to the study taken up by the researcher. The literature may be i) research reports, ii) research papers, iii) reference books, iv) periodicals covering issues relevant to the topics of research, v) government policy notes and reports on issues relevant to the topics, vi) relevant statutes, case laws and legal pronouncements, vii) scholarly text books, etc. The literature may be published or unpublished (but must be authenticated), local, national and global, individual or organizational, periodic or one-time and so on.

Literature Review in Research Methodology

Read More: How to Write a Good Literature Review

Objectives of Literature Review

Review of research report is done to know what research works have already been done on this and related topics or fields, the methodology adopted by them, the hypotheses formulated and tested by them, the findings and conclusions, the listed scope for further research, and so on. Similarly review of research papers is intended to know from the papers the thrust issues, the hypothesis, the tool of data collection, the methodology, the findings and the implications of them for the research for his current work. Review of literature helps understanding the present research in a better way. In fact, review of literature beginning with a research for a suitable topic for research and continues until final stages of the current research work.

Purpose of Literature Review

The following are the purposes of literature review:

  1. To avoid duplication of research work, in case an almost similar work as the present one has already been done by some one.
  2. To adopt an alternative method of study in case an almost similar work as already done has to be for some reason carried out.
  3. To fill up gaps in research by incorporating objectives not thoroughly probed by earlier researchers.
  4. To effectively, formulate hypotheses in the light of findings of earlier research works or policy pronouncement of governments or statutory development.
  5. To test the efficacy of suggested courses of action in earlier works.
  6. To ward of methodological problems or troubles that might have been suffered by earlier researchers.
  7. To refine the methodology of research in the light of suggested improvement by or for earlier works.
  8. To add new dimensions of research in a study based on recommendations of earlier research works or scholarly research papers or legal pronouncements or investigations or other reports.
  9. To have an idea of the diverse tools of analysis used by others and that could be used for the present research.
  10. To build a theory, review of literature is needed. Fitting the findings of the present work with the findings of earlier work, and on that basis evolving a theory becomes possible.
  11. Review of earlier research works also helps in developing on impressive structuring of research report. Based on knowledge gained on this aspect from the structures adopted in earlier works, right structuring of report is worked out.

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