The Literature Review (LR) is an integral part of an in-depth research process, which involves critically scrutinized content attained from former research works and empirical reports. In a research paper, the LR is meant to address the identified issue and gain adequate knowledge to resolve it. However, since every research is unique in its way, soon the researcher discovers that the former research works are inadequate or limited in meeting the current research objectives. In this way, the LR brings forth the research gaps, which leads to further research process at the researcher’s end.
It is important to note here that the Literature Review format may differ from one University to another. However, the process of analysis and declarations remain universal. For the formatting and the inclusion list always check the University module.
In this article, we will focus on understanding the relevance and content to be established in the Introduction part of the Literature Review.
On a standard basis, the structure of the Literature Review is meant to offer three sections – Introduction, Body, and the Conclusion. In the case of Introduction, the researcher must offer detailed information about the context and the intellectual narration about the topic. Historical contexts and the developmental process of the concern need to be summed up in this section. The researcher should declare the theories and the relevance of the theories to the research in a very comprehensive manner. While elaborating the relevance of the selected theories the key writers and philosophers should be introduced in the Introduction section of the LR.
It is highly recommended that the researcher considers the inclusion of the Conceptual Framework in the LR Introduction. The objective behind the inclusion of the Conceptual Framework is to develop an in-depth thinking process and thereby understand the complexity of the identified issue of the research. This framework acts as a roadmap while constructing the Body and Conclusion or the Research Gaps. The conceptual framework as prescribed in Figure 1 should be considered while answering the specified questions one-by-one:
The Literature Review Introduction can vary as per the type of review process considered by the researcher. Following the selected topic and the availability of secondary sources the LR can be:
For all these types, it is necessary that the Literature Review Introduction makes clear declarations about the selection process and justify the selection of the type in the most intellectually logical manner.
If you select the narrative approach to review the collected literature, then mention it in the first few lines. You need to state that you will summarise the content of the selected literature and will derive the research gaps.
Alternatively, your literature review can be argumentative in approach. In this case, the Literature Review Introduction must declare the process of examining the biases and ways to identify the shortcomings of the selected literature.
In case, you select a systematic review of very narrowly selected literature; make sure that you identify the right process. Since systematic literature review can be shaped as meta-analysis or as meta-synthesis, the LR Introduction must clarify the approach. Mention how you follow statistical procedures to meet the meta-analysis approach and undergo a deductive process under quantitative methodology. For the meta-synthesis approach, give a clear idea about the non-statistical techniques under qualitative methodology.
For the theoretical approach of the literature review, introduce and establish the relevance of the selected theories in the LR Introduction. On the other hand, for the integrative review approach, generate the necessary framework about the process of leading the critiques.
The literature Review Introduction will not mention anything about the selected referencing style. The in-text citations will make it all clear. You must follow the right kind of in-text referencing style as per your selected subject and approach of your research.
In this article, we are offering three samples for a clear understanding. These exemplified referencing styles are:
It is the presence of the references in the form of ‘parenthetical in-text citations, which determines the selected referencing style for the entire research work. Note that for subjects from Humanities, the common selection is of MLA style. Even in Humanities, if you are from dealing with History, Business Fine Arts, then you can consider the Chicago style of referencing. As for the APA referencing style the subjects from Social Sciences, Engineering, Education, etc. remains as the basic selection. Still, we would recommend that always have a consultation with your Guide or Supervisor about the right selection of the referencing style.
APA style of referencing under 7th edition is a parenthetical way of declaring the references. The bracketed mode of references that you need to add to the Literature Review Introduction must comprise of –
For instance, in Sample Text 1 for a fictitious book, ‘Evaluation of Education System’ by Simon Hillary, published in 2019; the APA style in-text referencing should appear like- (Hillary, 2019, p. 84) or (Hillary, 2019, pp. 84-88). Note that ‘p.’ stands for a single page, whereas ‘pp.’ for consecutive multiple pages. The page or page numbers are used when you quote from a text directly. In case there is no direct quote, you can avoid using the page or page numbers. In some cases like old texts, it is recommended to use paragraph or couplet numbers.
This format is a general application that varies slightly in the case of multiple authors. Let’s add Walter as co-author for two authored books. The in-text citations under the APA system follow the following provisions of using the commas ‘,’: There is no difference while referring to in-text reference to any book, journal or web article, or internet sources.
For APA in-text citations always remember:
Chicago referencing style (17th edition) is used for documentations of –
Though this style is very similar to the APA style of adding-
Yet the placement of the comma makes all the difference in the in-text citation process. Instead of putting the comma ‘,’ after the Surname of the Author, Chicago places it after the publication date and there is no space for ‘p.’ or ‘pp.’.
If we consider the same text ‘Evaluation of Education System’ by Simon Hillary, published in 2019 by Oxford Open Press in Oxford; the Chicago style in-text referencing should appear like- (Hillary 2019, 84) or (Hillary 2019, 84-88). Let’s add Walter as co-author for two authored books.
There is no difference while referring to in-text reference to any book, journal or web article, or internet sources.
Notes- Footnotes & Endnotes
The usage of Chicago is more particular when it comes to the inclusion of footnote or endnote in a text. Here, if you need to add any footnote or endnote to the Literature Review Introduction, then follow the following rules:
MLA referencing style under 8th edition is also a parenthetical way of declaring the references. The brackets in the in-text referencing process for the Introduction of your Literature Review must comprise of –
Considering the same book, ‘Evaluation of Education System’ by Simon Hillary, published in 2019; the MLA style in-text referencing should appear like- (Hillary 84) or (Hillary 84-88). It is important that in the case of MLA the non-consecutive pages are just added by commas, as in- (Hillary 84, 26, 104). Let’s add Walter as co-author for two authored books. There is no difference while referring to in-text reference to any book, journal or web article, or internet sources. Note that there is no use of ‘p.’ or ‘pp.’ for page number/s and there is no space for commas ‘,’.
The MLA style is popular for its facilities to accommodate various kinds of exceptional in-text citations. In your Literature Review Introduction, these exceptions can occur in the following manner, yet MLA holds solutions for the-
No Author Citation: The in-text citation needs to be added by matching the very foremost element in the entry of the Cited Work, which can be the organisation’s name or source title.
Example: For the source- United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. International Annual Report for FY 2020-21, the in-text citation would be UNICEF (or United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) 162.
No Page Number/s Citation: In an in-text citation, when there is no page number, then you can consider the number of the chapter, scene, section, or anything that can locate the page.
Example: For the source- ‘Evaluation of Education System’ by Simon Hillary, the in-text citation would be (Hillary ch 2).
Same Author Different Sources: The in-text citation of different works by the same author, MLA follows the regulation of shortening the title of the sources.
Example: For the source- ‘Evaluation of Education System’ by Simon Hillary, and ‘Education in Global Platform’ by Simon Hillary, the in-text citation would be (Hillary, Evaluation 84; and Hilary, Global 65).
Same Last Names: The in-text citation of different authors with the same surnames, MLA follows the trend of adding the First name initial.
Example: For the authors- Thomas Hilary and Simon Hilary with different sources, the in-text citation would be (T. Hillary 65 & S. Hillary 84).
Indirect Citation: The in-text citation for the information attained from indirect sources, MLA prescribes the provision of adding the source with parentheses and by the end of the sentence.
Example: If a piece of information about Hillary has been gathered from James Walter’s text published in 2020, then the in-text citation would be Hillary declared that the style of referencing … (Walter ch.2)
MLA style is very peculiar for its art of paraphrasing or delivering the context with the sources. For instance, in your Introduction, you can have sentences like-
In the conclusion, it is suggested that the Literature Review Introduction is very important for the success of your research However, to get your research approved by the University you need to take care of all the aspects and points mentioned above.