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EDL 554 Research & Evaluation in Schools: Doing a Literature Review

This guide will provide students with an introduction to action research and the research process within the field of education.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a comprehensive summary and overview of the most relevant research that has been published about the topic being studied.

It is designed to provide the reader with an up-to-date and across-the-board view of the subject being studied. 

It is supposed to help the reader to understand the intellectual framework and the reason that there is a need for the study. 

Purpose of a Literature Review

A literature review should accomplish a number of things including:

  • Identify gaps in the literature related to your subject.
  • Provide evidence as to the need for your study.
  • Explore relationships and provide connections to related research.
  • Identify seminal works within the field of study. 
  • Uncover contoversies and competing opinions or theories within a subject area.

How do you perform a literature review?

1. Chose a topic and define your research question.

2. Define the scope of your review (i.e., how comprehensive does it need to be, how many years do I need to go back, how many papers should I incorporate into the discussion, etc.)

3. Select the databases you will use to conduct your searches.

4. Identify key words related to your research question. 

6. Execute your searches.

5. Review the literature you have retrieved.