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When a literature review exists as part of an introduction to a study, it follows the structure of the Introduction itself and moves from the general to the specific—presenting the broadest background information about a topic first and then moving to specific studies that support your study, finally leading to your hypothesis statement.
The literature review found at the beginning of a journal article is used to introduce research related to the specific study and is found in the Introduction section, usually near the end.
It is shorter than a stand-alone review because it must limit its scope to very specific studies and theories that are directly relevant to this study.
Its purpose is to set research precedence and provide support for the study’s theory, methods, results, and/or conclusions.
Not all research articles contain an explicit review of the literature, but many do, whether it is a discrete section or indistinguishable from the rest of the Introduction.
We want to help you maintain the vision of the big picture.
It’s easy to lose sight of this when you’re doing your research, following various threads of interest, sometimes getting bogged down in the details.The literature review is not a comprehensive history of your topic, but a way to provide context to your reader about research that has preceded your study.Be aware that the literature review is an iterative process.Rather, you can take the pieces that other researchers have “cut” and put them together to build a framework on which to hang your own “books”—that is, your own study methods, results, and conclusions.The contents of a literature review are determined by many factors, including its precise purpose in the document, the degree of consensus with a given theory or tension between competing theories, the length of the article, the amount of previous studies existing in the given field, etc.They can range from the selective (a very narrow area of research or only a single work) to the comprehensive (a larger amount or range of works).They can also exist as part of a larger work or stand on their own.Take some time to look over the resources in order to become familiar with them.The tabs on the left side of this page have additional information.These literature reviews are generally a bit broader in scope and can extend further back in time.This means that sometimes a scientific literature review can be highly theoretical, in addition to focusing on specific methods and outcomes of previous studies.