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In the conclusion, you should: Summarize major contributions of significant studies and articles to the body of knowledge under review, maintaining the focus established in the introduction.Evaluate the current “state of the art” for the body of knowledge reviewed, pointing out major methodological flaws or gaps in research, inconsistencies in theory and findings, and areas or issues pertinent to future study.
The purpose of writing a literature review is to establish your authority in your research.
Without that established credibility, your research findings are dismissed as nothing but your opinions founded on some basic methodologies.
The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions is the official guide that describes in detail the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews on the effects of healthcare interventions.
All authors should consult the Handbook for guidance on the methods used in Cochrane systematic reviews.
Remember that just having read a dissertation or conference paper doesn’t count – you must critique it – what worked, what didn’t, what would you do differently?
Your reader should reach the end of your literature review with a sense of full comprehension as to how your proposed study fits together with the current body of published work: If your reader can’t figure out what you’re doing in relation to what has come before you, your literature review has failed both as a stand-alone piece of academic work and as a building block for your overall study.Conclude by providing some insight into the relationship between the central topic of the literature review and a larger area of study such as a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or a profession.For further information see our handouts on Writing a Critical Review of a Nonfiction Book or Article or Reading a Book to Review It.Note that this is no longer the most current version of the Handbook, and readers should consult the What's New section for more information about what has been updated.Further information is also available about the Handbook including supplementary material, information about what's new in each version, updates and corrections and more.Summarize individual studies or articles with as much or as little detail as each merits according to its comparative importance in the literature, remembering that space (length) denotes significance.Provide the reader with strong “umbrella” sentences at beginnings of paragraphs, “signposts” throughout, and brief “so what” summary sentences at intermediate points in the review to aid in understanding comparisons and analyses.The format of a review of literature may vary from discipline to discipline and from assignment to assignment.A review may be a self-contained unit — an end in itself — or a preface to and rationale for engaging in primary research.Develop relationships that make sense within that framework and organize your review around ideas not tenuous links by researcher or subject or chronology.Only include the material that you actually read – cutting and pasting someone else’s bibliography will come back to bite you later – especially if you have to do an oral defense and someone asks for your thoughts on a specific article or study.