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The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to obtain a good survey of relevant resources.Your professor will probably not expect you to read everything that's available about the topic, but you'll make your job easier if you first limit scope of the research problem.For example, a book surveying the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may include a chapter on the role Egypt has played in mediating the conflict, or look in the index for the pages where Egypt is mentioned in the text.
The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Should I provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history?
Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems. Use the exercise of reviewing the literature to examine how authors in your discipline or area of interest have composed their literature review sections.
Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse.
However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews [see below].
The analytical features of a literature review might: It is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers.
First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish.The goal is to deliberately document, critically evaluate, and .Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis].Reviewing methods of analysis provides a framework of understanding at different levels [i.e.those of theory, substantive fields, research approaches, and data collection and analysis techniques], how researchers draw upon a wide variety of knowledge ranging from the conceptual level to practical documents for use in fieldwork in the areas of ontological and epistemological consideration, quantitative and qualitative integration, sampling, interviewing, data collection, and data analysis.Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent.Historical literature reviews focus on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline.Second are the reviews of those studies that summarize and offer new interpretations built from and often extending beyond the primary studies.Third, there are the perceptions, conclusions, opinion, and interpretations that are shared informally that become part of the lore of field.