As a STEM researcher, your literature review should focus on the latest research trends, theories, and technologies. You should also consider the structure of your review and make sure it is well-organized and easy to follow. When writing your literature review, remember that it should be based on credible and reliable sources. This includes peer-reviewed articles, scientific journals, and other reputable publications.
In addition to the sources you use, it is crucial to consider the language and tone of your writing. Your literature review should be written in clear and concise language that is easy to understand. You should also avoid using too much technical jargon that may be difficult for beginners to comprehend. Instead, use simple and straightforward language that will be accessible to a broad audience.
When working on your literature review, it is essential to stay organized and focused. One helpful strategy is to break your review into mini-projects or sections. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you are addressing all the necessary topics and research questions.
Before diving into the techniques and strategies for writing a literature review, let’s first define it. A literature review is a comprehensive survey of the existing literature on a particular topic. It provides an overview of the theories, concepts, and research findings related to the topic. In STEM fields, literature reviews are often used to identify knowledge gaps and research opportunities.
Techniques for Writing a Literature Review
1. Identify Your Topic and Scope
The first step in writing a literature review is identifying your topic and scope. Your topic should be specific enough to allow you to conduct a thorough review but broad enough to provide you with enough literature to analyze. Once you have identified your topic, you need to decide on the scope of your review. Will you focus on recent research only, or will you include older studies as well?
2. Search for Relevant Literature
The next step is to search for relevant literature. You can start by searching literature using online databases, such as Google Scholar or PubMed. These databases allow you to search for articles, books, and other sources related to your topic. You can also search for relevant literature by looking at the reference lists of articles you have already found.
3. Evaluate the Literature
Once you have found relevant literature, you need to evaluate it. Look for articles and sources that are relevant to your research question and provide useful insights into the topic. You should also evaluate the quality of the research, including the methodology used and the validity of the findings.
4. Organize Your Literature
Organizing your literature is a critical step in writing a literature review. You can organize your literature by creating a table or spreadsheet that summarizes the key findings of each source. You can also create a concept map to help you visualize the relationships between different sources.
Strategies for Writing a Literature Review
1. Write a Clear and Concise Introduction
Your introduction should provide a clear and concise overview of the topic and the purpose of the literature review. It should also identify the key concepts and theories discussed in the review.
2. Provide a Logical Structure
Providing a logical structure for your literature review involves organizing your review into clear sections and subsections, using subheadings and topic sentences, considering the order of presentation, using transitions, and concluding your review. In addition to creating a clear and logical structure for your literature review, it is important to remember to keep your review focused on your research question and purpose. Avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information or going off on tangents that do not directly relate to your research question.
Be sure to stay on topic and keep your focus on the main themes and concepts that are relevant to your review. By doing so, you can ensure that your literature review provides a clear and concise overview of the existing literature on your topic, and helps to advance your research in a meaningful way.Another important aspect of providing a logical structure for your literature review is to consider the audience for your work. Think about the level of familiarity your readers may have with your topic and field, and use appropriate terminology and language.
Additionally, make sure your review is well-organized and easy to navigate, as this will help your readers to engage with your work and understand the significance of your research question and findings.
3. Use Effective Writing Techniques
Using effective writing techniques is essential to ensure that your literature review is clear, engaging, and accessible to your readers. Use clear and concise language, an active voice, ensure coherence, use examples, be objective, and use credible sources. In addition, effective writing techniques also include proofreading and editing your work.
Ensure that your literature review is free of grammatical and spelling errors, and that your writing is consistent throughout. This will help to improve the overall quality and readability of your literature review, and ensure that your readers can easily understand your arguments and findings.
Finally, don’t forget to seek feedback from peers or your supervisor to ensure that your literature review is well-written, coherent, and provides a clear and concise overview of the existing literature on your topic.
4. Discuss the Findings of Your Review
The final section of your literature review should discuss the findings of your review. This section should summarize the key concepts and theories discussed in the review, identify gaps in the literature, and suggest directions for future research.