Literature review checklist

  1. Evidence of reading will always be required in any research
  • Researchers may collect many facts but then must select organise and classify findings into a coherent pattern
  • Your framework will not only provide a map of how the research will conducted and analysed but it will also give you ideas about structure for your review
  • Literature reviews should be succinct and as far as is possible in a small should give a picture of the state of knowledge and of major question in your area
  • Ensure that all references are complete. Note the page numbers of any quotations and paraphrases of good ideas. You cannot use them without acknowledging the source. If you do, you may become involved in plagiarism challenge.
  • Watch your language. Perhaps inference may be drawn but ‘proof’ is hard to come by when dealing with human beings
  • Examine your source critically before you decide to use them
  • Remember that unless you are comparing like with like you can make no claims for comparability
  • Do not be tempted to leave out any reports of research merely because they differ from own findings
  1.  Start the first draft of your review early in your reading. Many more drafts will be required before you have a coherent and critical account but better to start small and then build on your first attempt than to have to make sense of everything you read at one attempt.
  1. The aim of the review is to produce a critical review, not a list of everything you have read
  1. It will help you to draw together and summarise facts and findings
  1. If you have been able to classify your reading into groups categories or under headings writing your review will relatively straight forward.
  1. Make no claims which cannot be justified from the evidence you have presented.
  1. As you continue entries will be deleted and others added, but you will have made a start. Better be faced with a badly written, inadequate review than a blank page.

Source:  Bell J (2012) Doing your research project Milton Keynes OUP