Literature Review Format

You now know what a literature review is, understand how to conduct one and have a strategy to take your work forward. The following abstract is an example of a literature review conducted to a first class undergraduate standard. The text shows how literature sources and argument can be structured. The tips in square brackets [ ] explain the reasoning behind the statements.

Literature Review Example – The Voluntary Sector

The NCVO explains that voluntary organisations are being managed through a “change process aimed at creating a culture of enterprise” (NCVO 1990, p. 9). It is this opening source which really benchmarks the review. This demonstrates how the last decade within the third sector, has in general ,failed to deliver to the NCVOs statement above. [An example of contradictory research and introducing an argument to the work.]

Kendall and Knapp (1996) proposed several concepts which have had an increasing impact upon the third sector. The evolution of the third sector, Deakin explains, “is attributable to the newly elected Labour government of 1997” (Deacon 1996, p. 175). Its heightened profile and changes in public perceptions has led to a new revolution of efficiency and management within the third sector. Continuing on the political argument Rochester (1998, p. 31) believes that:

“Widespread disillusion with the cost and quality of social welfare provided by western world governments has led to an increased dependency on the third sector”. [Here the author mapped out the themes of the literature review and therefore benefited from a natural progression in the review. The referenced quote provides weight to this theme.]

The revolution which was proposed by Kendall and Knapp [This is a reference to a previous piece of research identified in the above paragraph. Again, this is linking the key themes and ideas that the author found in the literature.] may well have begun but Jaffro’s (1996) study [an example of conflicting ideas from different research brought together by the author] as based on the need for a fully functioning voluntary sector in Ireland, which had failed to form due to inconsistent funding, which the government were partially responsible for. The argument already emerging is whether the third sector is indeed in a revolution and whether it’s effectively setup to deal with large quantities of information. [This is an early question being raised by the author as to whether the research undertaken is valid i.e. is the third sector in a revolution.]

Grimwood–Jones and Simmons argue that the revolution stated by other academics may be due to a feeling of catch me up which has been borne out of an increased presence of I.M in the private and public sectors. They pose questions which as yet have not been answered specifically within the C.A.B [The author here is highlighting a requirement for their research i.e. previous research questions have not been addressed in the C.A.B.] and state the importance of I.M if organisations are “to remain relevant, viable and competitive” (1998, p. viii).