With this module we will examine the purpose, best practices, and strategies for conducting a Review of Literature or Literature Review. Either title is appropriate. Whichever you choose, remain consistent throughout your paper. This DF is designed for you to share and receive constructive feedback from your classmates regarding the challenges you face in writing a Review of Literature. (OTHER ATTACHED DOCUMENTS ARE INFORMATION TO HELP WRITE THE PAPER)

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Therefore, please review the resources provided for this week, and response to the following:

1. What type of Review of Literature are you planning to conduct and why (purpose)?

2. What do you believe will be the most challenging task in writing your ROL? Why?

3. How do you propose to solve your perceived challenges?

4. Reflect on any elements that you believe will help you to successfully complete your ROL. Introduction to the Review of Literature: SMGT780.A-2019.SPSES1 Research & Design in the Sport Industry
2/20/19, 8)37 PM
Introduc!on to the Review of Literature
A literature review surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue,
area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of
these works in relation to the research problem being investigated. Literature reviews are designed to
provide an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic and to
demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within a larger field of study.
Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. Fourth edition.
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2014.
Importance of a Good Literature Review
A literature review may consist of simply a summary of key sources, but in the social sciences, a
literature review usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and
synthesis, often within specific conceptual categories. A summary is a recap of the important
information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information in a
way that informs how you are planning to investigate a research problem. The analytical features of a
literature review might:
Give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations,
Trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates,
Depending on the situation, evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or
relevant research, or
Usually in the conclusion of a literature review, identify where gaps exist in how a problem has been
researched to date.
The purpose of a literature review is to:
Place each work in the context of its contribution to understanding the research problem being
Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration.
Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
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Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.
Resolve conflicts among seemingly contradictory previous studies.
Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort.
Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research.
Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important].
Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 2nd ed. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research
Imagination. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Jesson, Jill. Doing Your Literature Review:
Traditional and Systematic Techniques. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2011; Knopf, Jeffrey W. “Doing a
Literature Review.” PS: Political Science and Politics 39 (January 2006): 127-132; Ridley, Diana. The
Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students. 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2012.
Types of Literature Reviews
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. 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.
In composing a literature review, it is important to note that it is often this third layer of knowledge that is
cited as “true” even though it often has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary
literature reviews. Given this, while literature reviews are designed to provide an overview and synthesis
of pertinent sources you have explored, there are a number of approaches you could adopt depending
upon the type of analysis underpinning your study.
Types of Literature Reviews
Argumentative Review
This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply
embedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. The purpose is to
develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint. 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].
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systematic reviews [see below].
Integrative Review
Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a
topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. The
body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses or research problems.
A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor,
and replication. This is the most common form of review in the social sciences.
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. 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. This approach helps highlight ethical issues which you should be aware of
and consider as you go through your own study.
Systematic Review
This form consists of an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research
question, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant
research, and to collect, report, and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. The
goal is to deliberately document, critically evaluate, and summarize scientifically all of the research about
a clearly defined research problem. 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?” This type of literature review
is primarily applied to examining prior research studies in clinical medicine and allied health fields, but it
is increasingly being used in the social sciences.
Theoretical Review
The purpose of this form is to examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue,
concept, theory, phenomena. 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. 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
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theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research
problems. The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework.
Baumeister, Roy F. and Mark R. Leary. “Writing Narrative Literature Reviews.” Review of General
Psychology 1 (September 1997): 311-320; Mark R. Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature
Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a
Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Publications, 1998; Kennedy, Mary M. “Defining a Literature.” Educational Researcher 36 (April 2007):
139-147; Petticrew, Mark and Helen Roberts. Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical
Guide. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2006; Torracro, Richard. “Writing Integrative Literature
Reviews: Guidelines and Examples.” Human Resource Development Review 4 (September 2005): 356367; Rocco, Tonette S. and Maria S. Plakhotnik. “Literature Reviews, Conceptual Frameworks, and
Theoretical Frameworks: Terms, Functions, and Distinctions.” Human Ressource Development Review 8
(March 2008): 120-130; Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review. Los
Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016.
Structure and Wri!ng Style
I. Thinking About Your Literature Review
The structure of a literature review should include the following:
An overview of the subject, issue, or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the
literature review,
Division of works under review into themes or categories [e.g. works that support a particular position,
those against, and those offering alternative approaches entirely],
An explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others,
Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their
opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of
The critical evaluation of each work should consider:
Provenance — what are the author’s credentials? Are the author’s arguments supported by evidence
[e.g. primary historical material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent scientific findings]?
Methodology — were the techniques used to identify, gather, and analyze the data appropriate to
addressing the research problem? Was the sample size appropriate? Were the results effectively
interpreted and reported?
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Objectivity — is the author’s perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or
is certain pertinent information ignored to prove the author’s point?
Persuasiveness — which of the author’s theses are most convincing or least convincing?
Value — are the author’s arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute
in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?
II. Development of the Literature Review
Four Stages
1. Problem formulation — which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues?
2. Literature search — finding materials relevant to the subject being explored.
3. Data evaluation — determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding
of the topic.
4. Analysis and interpretation — discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature.
Consider the following issues before writing the literature review:
If your assignment is not very specific about what form your literature review should take, seek
clarification from your professor by asking these questions:
1. Roughly how many sources should I include?
2. What types of sources should I review (books, journal articles, websites; scholarly versus popular
3. Should I summarize, synthesize, or critique sources by discussing a common theme or issue?
4. Should I evaluate the sources?
5. Should I provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history?
Find Models
Use the exercise of reviewing the literature to examine how authors in your discipline or area of interest
have composed their literature review sections. Read them to get a sense of the types of themes you
might want to look for in your own research or to identify ways to organize your final review. The
bibliography or reference section of sources you’ve already read are also excellent entry points into your
own research.
Narrow the Topic
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Narrow the Topic
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. A good strategy is to begin by searching the Brennan Library
( for books about the topic and
review the table of contents for chapters that focuses on specific issues. You can also review the indexes
of books to find references to specific issues that can serve as the focus of your research. 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
Consider Whether Your Sources are Current
Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. This is particularly true in
disciplines in medicine and the sciences where research conducted becomes obsolete very quickly as
new discoveries are made. However, when writing a review in the social sciences, a survey of the history
of the literature may be required. In other words, a complete understanding the research problem
requires you to deliberately examine how knowledge and perspectives have changed over time. Sort
through other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline
expects. You can also use this method to explore what is considered by scholars to be a “hot topic” and
what is not.
III. Ways to Organize Your Literature Review
Chronology of Events
If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials according to when
they were published. This approach should only be followed if a clear path of research building on
previous research can be identified and that these trends follow a clear chronological order of
development. For example, a literature review that focuses on continuing research about the emergence
of German economic power after the fall of the Soviet Union.
By Publication
Order your sources by publication chronology, then, only if the order demonstrates a more important
trend. For instance, you could order a review of literature on environmental studies of brown fields if the
progression revealed, for example, a change in the soil collection practices of the researchers who wrote
and/or conducted the studies.
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Thematic [“conceptual categories”]
Thematic reviews of literature are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time.
However, progression of time may still be an important factor in a thematic review. For example, a review
of the Internet’s impact on American presidential politics could focus on the development of online
political satire. While the study focuses on one topic, the Internet’s impact on American presidential
politics, it will still be organized chronologically reflecting technological developments in media. The only
difference here between a “chronological” and a “thematic” approach is what is emphasized the most:
the role of the Internet in presidential politics. Note however that more authentic thematic reviews tend to
break away from chronological order. A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods
within each section according to the point made.
A methodological approach focuses on the methods utilized by the researcher. For the Internet in
American presidential politics project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural
differences between the portrayal of American presidents on American, British, and French websites. Or
the review might focus on the fundraising impact of the Internet on a particular political party. A
methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these
documents are discussed.
Other Sections of Your Literature Review
Once you’ve decided on the organizational method for your literature review, the sections you need to
include in the paper should be easy to figure out because they arise from your organizational strategy. In
other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period; a thematic review
would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue. However, sometimes you
may need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational
strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you but include only what is
necessary for the reader to locate your study within the larger scholarship framework.
Here are examples of other sections you may need to include depending on the type of review you write:
Current Situation: information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.
History: the chronological progression of the field, the literature, or an idea that is necessary to
understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology.
Selection Methods: the criteria you used to select (and perhaps exclude) sources in your literature
review. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and
Standards: the way in which you present your information.
Questions for Further Research: What questions about the field has the review sparked? How will
you further your research as a result of the review?
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IV. Writing Your Literature Review
Once you’ve settled on how to organize your literature review, you’re ready to write each section. When
writing your review, keep in mind these issues.
Use Evidence
A literature review section is, in this sense, just like any other academic research paper. Your
interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence [citations] that demonstrates that
what you are saying is valid.
Be Selective
Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information
you choose to …
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