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The Literature Review
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The Literature Review
A Step-by-Step Guide for Students

Second Edition
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July 2012 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This Second Edition of Diana Ridley's bestselling guide to the literature review provides a step-by-step guide to conducting a literature search and literature review, and guides the reader in how to write up a literature review as part of a PhD thesis or Masters dissertation.

Ridley outlines practical strategies for reading and note taking, and guides the reader on how to conduct a systematic search of the available literature, and uses cases and examples throughout to demonstrate best practice in writing and presenting the review.

New to this edition are examples drawn from a wide range of disciplines, a new chapter on conducting a systematic review, increased coverage of issues of evaluating quality and conducting reviews using online sources and online literature and enhanced guidance in dealing with copyright and permissions issues.

This book also comes with a companion website containing a wide range of examples of successful literature reviews from a wide range of academic disciplines.

 
Introduction
What Is A Literature Review?

 
The Literature Review At Different Degree Levels

 
Why Is It Important To Undertake A Literature Review As Part Of Your Research?

 
Where Do We Find The Literature Review In A Dissertation Or Thesis?

 
Structuring Your Literature Review

 
Task 1.1 Choosing A Literature Review Approach

 
Summary

 
Overview

 
 
The Multiple Purposes of a Literature Review
The Multiple Purposes

 
Historical Background

 
Contemporary Context

 
Theoretical Underpinnings

 
Definitions And Discussion Of Terminology Used In The Research

 
Signalling A Gap In Previous Research And Using This To Justify Your Own

 
The Significance Of A Problem For Research

 
Task 2.1 Reflecting On Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
 
Sources of Information and Conducting Searches
What Is A Literature Search?

 
What Are The Purposes Of A Literature Search?

 
Sources Of Information

 
Evaluating Online Sources Of Information

 
Different Types Of Research

 
Tools For Finding Relevant Sources

 
The Process Of Conducting A Literature Search

 
The Use Of Key Words And Boolean Logic

 
Keeping Up To Date: RSS Feeds And Email Alerts

 
Social Bookmarking

 
Task 3.1 Tracking And Recording Your Search

 
Summary

 
 
Reading and Note-Taking Strategies
Techniques For Reading Efficiently

 
Increasing Your Reading Speed

 
Reasons For Note Taking

 
Techniques For Note Taking

 
Three Main Formats for Note Taking

 
Your Own Comments

 
Handwritten Notes VS Computer Notes

 
Making Connections Between Different Texts: Using Key Words

 
Making Connections Between Different Texts: A Tabular Comparison

 
Techniques For Writing A Summary

 
Task 4.1 Applying The Principles To Your Field

 
Summary

 
 
Reference Management: Keeping Records and Organising Information
Managing The Process

 
A Record of Key Word Searches

 
A Record of Bibliographic Details

 
A Personal Library

 
Copyright Legislation

 
Bibliographical Software Packages

 
Task 5.1 Record Keeping For Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
 
Structuring the Literature Review
The Processes Involved In The Creation Of A Literature Review

 
Beginning To Write

 
The Structure Of The Literature Review

 
Developing The Structure Of Your Review

 
Task 6.1 Structuring Your Own Literature Review

 
The Relationship Between The Introduction And The Literature Review

 
Task 6.2 Reflecting On Your Own Research Field

 
Summary

 
 
In-Text Citations
Why Do We Reference?

 
What Is Plagiarism?

 
What Type Of Information Requires A Reference?

 
Referencing Systems

 
Integral And Non-Integral References

 
Disciplinary Differences in Refernce Type

 
Types Of Citation

 
Disciplinary Difference in Citation Type

 
Choice Of Reporting Verb

 
Disciplinary Difference in Reporting Verbs

 
Tense Of Reporting Verb

 
Choice Of Tense In The Clause Or Sentence Where The Information Is Reported

 
Effective And Unacceptable Citations

 
Text Matching Software: Turnitin

 
Task 7.1 Analysing Reference Techniques In Your Own Research Field

 
Summary

 
 
Being Critical
The Difference Between Critical Reading And Critical Writing

 
Being Critical In Writing

 
How Different Researchers Adopt A Critical Approach In Their Writing

 
Task 8.1 Critical Writing In Your Own Research Field

 
Summary

 
 
Foregrounding Writer Voice in Your Writing
What Is Writer Voice?

 
The Organisation Of The Text

 
Unattributed Assertions Followed by Support from Citations

 
Summary and Evaluation of Source Material

 
Overall Summary at End of Section or Chapter

 
The Use Of Personal Pronouns

 
The Choice Of Citation Pattern

 
The Evaluative Potential Of Different Reporting Verbs

 
Evaluative Adjectives, Adverbs And Phrases

 
A Mixture Of Evaluative Strategies

 
Task 9.1 Reflecting On The Writer's Voice In Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
 
The Continuing Process
The Literature Review Process

 
Referring To The Literature In Your Discussion Chapter

 
Task 10.1 Reflecting On Making The Connections In Your Own Research

 
Summary

 
Findings Support an Existing Theory

 
Comparing a New Model and an Existing Theory

 
Explaining a Finding Using the Literature

 
Contribution of Current Research to Exisiting Theory

 
Interpreting the Data Using the Literature

 
Application of Theory to the Findings

 
Summary

 
 
A Systematic Literature Review
What Is A Systematic Literature Review?

 
The Process Of Conducting A Systematic Literature Review

 
What Is A Meta-Analysis?

 
Narrative Synthesis

 
An Example Of A Systematic Review

 
Appraisal Of A Systematic Review

 
Task 11.1 Searching For And Critiquing A Systematic Literature Review In Your Field

 
Summary

 
Further Reading

 
 
Conclusion
 
Electronic Guides
 
References
 
Index

Supplements

SAGE Study Skills hub

Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

Very useful as a text on one element of a dissertation

Miss Donna Luck
early years, Northampton University
March 7, 2014

A very clear, easy to read text, providing students with excellent guidance for completion of dissertation projects. This book is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students and will enhance research and writing skills.

Miss Tracy Ramsey
Social Work Department, Liverpool Hope University
February 17, 2014

A very useful and readable guide for research students about the tricky stage of their dissertation when they have to review existing literature. Deals well with the dilemmas students face, e.g. how to avoid just telling the reader everything you know about a subject.
I recommend this to all my research students and students following research methods training courses.

Professor David Wray
Warwick Institute of Education, Warwick University
February 9, 2014

Used and recommended occasionally with students who I see on a one-to-one basis

Mr Rupert Walsh
School of Languages and Area Studies, Portsmouth University
February 7, 2014

Useful references and ideas. Will help students on post graduate courses who have little research experience

Mr Stefan Brown
Department of Health and Social Care, Royal Holloway, University of London
February 6, 2014

An excellent read for students new to Lit Reviews - not only Business related research projects

Mr Steve Billcliffe
Business Faculty, Abingdon & Witney College
January 26, 2014

A useful text for students completing dissertation projects. This comprehensive text outlines clearly and carefully the requirements for producing an excellent literature review.

Miss Tracy Ramsey
Social Work Department, Liverpool Hope University
January 21, 2014

This is an excellent book for my students.

Dr Olatunde Aremu
School of Health and Bioscience, University of East London
November 21, 2013

This book met my expectations as a useful resource to support students' study. I recommend it therefore to my students.

Dr Grace Lees-Maffei
School of Art and Design, Hertfordshire University
October 22, 2013

Highly useful for our dissertation students.

Mr Timothy Brown
Business School, Chester University
September 13, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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Diana Ridley

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

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