“A substantive, thorough, sophisticated literature review is a precondition for doing substantive, thorough, sophisticated research”. Boote and Baile 2005
Authors of manuscripts treat writing a literature review as a routine work or a mere formality. But a seasoned one knows the purpose and importance of a well-written literature review. Since it is one of the basic needs for researches at any level, they have to be done vigilantly. Only then the reader will know that the basics of research have not been neglected.
The aim of any literature review is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of existing knowledge in a particular field without adding any new contributions. Being built on existing knowledge they help the researcher to even turn the wheels of the topic of research. It is possible only with profound knowledge of what is wrong in the existing findings in detail to overpower them. For other researches, the literature review gives the direction to be headed for its success.
The common perception of literature review and reality:
As per the common belief, literature reviews are only a summary of the sources related to the research. And many authors of scientific manuscripts believe that they are only surveys of what are the researches are done on the chosen topic. But on the contrary, it uses published information from pertinent and relevant sources like
Illuminates on how the knowledge has changed within the field
Highlights what has already been done in a particular field
Information of the generally accepted facts, emerging and current state of the topic of research
Identifies the research gap that is still unexplored or under-researched fields
Demonstrates how the research fits within a larger field of study
Provides an overview of the sources explored during the research of a particular topic
Importance of literature review in research:
The importance of literature review in scientific manuscripts can be condensed into an analytical feature to enable the multifold reach of its significance. It adds value to the legitimacy of the research in many ways:
Provides the interpretation of existing literature in light of updated developments in the field to help in establishing the consistency in knowledge and relevancy of existing materials
It helps in calculating the impact of the latest information in the field by mapping their progress of knowledge.
It brings out the dialects of contradictions between various thoughts within the field to establish facts
The research gaps scrutinized initially are further explored to establish the latest facts of theories to add value to the field
Indicates the current research place in the schema of a particular field
Provides information for relevancy and coherency to check the research
Apart from elucidating the continuance of knowledge, it also points out areas that require further investigation and thus aid as a starting point of any future research
Justifies the research and sets up the research question
Sets up a theoretical framework comprising the concepts and theories of the research upon which its success can be judged
Helps to adopt a more appropriate methodology for the research by examining the strengths and weaknesses of existing research in the same field
Increases the significance of the results by comparing it with the existing literature