A literature review assignment is a critical analysis of previous research about a specific topic. This is different from a literature review for a research project, where you use past research findings to identify and justify your new research topic.
An effective literature review assignment involves:
For each theme that you write about, you can organise literature in this way. It makes the research findings, as well as your own position, clear for your reader.
An effective literature review assignment may also involve:
An effective literature review assignment may also involve critiquing research, such as:
Visit the Academic Phrasebank from the University of Manchester for more examples of how you can discuss research findings.
Example and explanation of identifying limitations and future research
Journals are collections of articles which focus on particular topics. These articles are published periodically, such as four times a year. One common purpose of an article is to report on new research. For a literature review assignment, journal articles can provide you with up-to-date content on topics you have to write or talk about. To efficiently read journal articles, you need to:
Information on the first page of the article will often help you decide if you should read further.
Abstracts are particularly good for quickly deciding if the content matches what you need for your literature review assignment. They are usually organised into distinctive parts that provide an overview of the whole article.
It is not always necessary to read the whole article. Two common shortcuts are:
Journal articles commonly have distinctive parts (eg, Abstract, Literature Review, Discussion…). Each part has a clear function, which helps you to find specific information. (You may not need to read the whole thing.)
A reading grid can help you organise content from readings before you start writing your literature review assignment. Each row can match specific parts of each reading.
Once you have organised your content, reoccurring themes are more visible.
For example, in the findings row, one reoccurring theme is the negative relationship between Facebook use and Grade Point Average.