Literature Reviews Made Easy

A Quick Guide to Success

Paula Dawidowicz, Walden University

Published 2010

This book is designed to help you achieve one specific goal. It’s not designed to give you the philosophies of conducting research. It’s not designed to give you a background in a specific academic discipline or a specific topic. It’s not designed to give you theory. It’s designed specifically to instruct you in the practicalities of the writing process used to create strong, thorough, and potentially bulletproof literature reviews.

This book is the culmination of years of research experience. It’s also the culmination of several years of teaching writing and critical thinking to doctoral students. Although it began as a tool for doctoral students, it has been expanded to be useful for everyone from senior high school students through doctoral candidates working on developing their first literature review or a larger literature review than they normally develop. It has been created for everyone from academics to new business entrepreneurs with good ideas who are trying to write their first reviews to support the new idea they’re proposing.

1 Introduction. 2 The Literature Review Process. 3 Objective Research. 4 Generalizability and Transferability. 5 Quoting and Paraphrasing. 6 Selecting Quality Sources for Your Review. 7 Brainstorming: Examples of Factors to Consider. 8 Creating an Initial Outline for Your Literature Review. 9 Types of Article Examination Used in a Literature Review. 10 What is an Analysis? 11 Creating Structure for an Analysis. 12 What is a Comparison? 13 Contrast: The Important Other Side of the Coin. 14 Differentiating Between Strong and Weak Comparisons and Contrasts. 15 Evaluation of Importance of the Literature to a Topic of Interest. 16 Maximizing Your Evaluation. 17 How Does Synthesizing Ideas Create a Framework? 18 What Does a Synthesis Look Like? 19 Synthesis and Integration: Complementing Ideas. 20 Analysis, Comparison, Contrast, Evaluation, Synthesis, and Integration. 21 Organizing Your Assessment of the Literature. 22 Separating Your Ideas from Authors’ Ideas. 23 Peer Critiquing. 24 Reviewing Completed Publications. 25 Expanding and Revising. 26 Structuring Your Work. 27 Formulating Introductions. 28 Formulating Conclusions. 29 Revisions and Editing. 30 Summary of the Writing Process. 31 Review of Analysis Methods. Appendix A: Article Assessment Form.