Literature Reviews

Identifying gaps in the literature is a critical part of a review

As with all research, it is important to formulate questions that need further investigation and identify gaps in the literature that must be researched. First you need to identify and select relevant information sources, which will mean looking at books in the library, catalogues, databases and on the Internet.

Once you have decided what area you want to target and you have found appropriate sources to research you will need to interpret the results. Evaluate the information you have gathered carefully and if necessary modify your search.

You are looking for:

  1. Gaps in the research where you can suggest ways forward or theories of your own.
  2. Areas where the research is incomplete.

Once you have outlined the gaps in the literature, point these out and their flaws making sure that you identify the pertinent issues for future study. Identifying gaps in the literature shows that you understand the topic and suggesting new work, shows you have the potential for further study and independent research.

Finding the right voice for your literature review is all-important. Make your work clear, concise and informative. And as ever, always leave your reader with something to dwell upon!

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Useful links

Deakin University Library (2001). The Literature Review, [Online]. Available: http://www.deakin.edu.au/library/research/search-and-review-literature.php [Last accessed: 2014, June].


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