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Literature reviews

What is a literature review

Initially, it may be necessary to understand the wider body of literature associated with a subject matter. This can help to fully frame and understand the various issues connected to it. In addition, it can raise important questions or avenues of enquiry.

Different approaches can be taken in terms of the speed and completeness of the review of literature. With shorter timescales, a brief overview of the literature may be all that is required. A longer term, higher-profile programme may require a full and complete assessment of all the available literature to provide a solid base for the work.

Scoping a literature review

Scoping a literature review uses a systematic search of relevant databases, around a tightly defined research question and derived keywords and phrases. It provides a broad overview of the subject, the quality and quantity of literature that exists as well as key issues and gaps. Outputs include an overview of the search process, corresponding list of retrieved articles including full details and abstract (where available) and a topic matrix, summarising key themes.

The retrieved abstracts can be brought together into a summary report which provides a more coherent overview of the literature and gaps in the literature, more akin to an actual literature review.

A literature review

A more in-depth piece of work may be required following the scoping report, that makes a much more thorough search of literature, in a wider range of databases, and explores and discusses relevant themes in more detail.

Depending on the depth and breadth a literature review is required to go into.It may be necessary to outsource some or all of the work to an external third party, who have access to multiple databases.

Can a literature review help you

For enquiries on how we at LSR might help you conduct a literature review

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