A literature review, sometimes shortened as lit review, is an evaluation of what is known about a specific topic. In research methodology, it is used to create research agendas, show gaps in previous research results, or to simply bring up a discussion on a specific research item.
A lit review is important in helping one to fully understand what has already been done before in a specific topic. It also helps you to get clear background information on that specific topic, while also learning and internalizing the research methodology used by the previous researchers.
Above all, a literature review opens the researcher’s eyes to the probable gaps in the previous research results, thus allowing you to push for a further investigation of the topic using those same research methodologies.
A literature review is important in research methodology as it validates the need for your research. It also helps demonstrate your authority and grasp of the topic, while also showing what is missing in the existing research results that warrant your investigations.
In a lit review, you go back to previous researches, use them as your sources to identify the gap that exists, and then demonstrate how you intend to ‘fill’ the existing gap. The sources come from research journals, articles and research databases that are available for your topic.
Research cannot be said to be complete and original if it did not identify a specific unanswered question, compared the various previously conducted researches to learn about their findings, and eventually shown a clear understanding of the topic. With a well-formulated lit review, your research methodology becomes complete. It is in it that you even showcase yourself as an authority in the same topic by highlighting what has been done, as well as what has been missed.
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Eventually, using the same lit review, you outline how you intend to fill the missing gap, what methodologies will be used, what sources informed this choice, and why you are the right person to complete the study.
A literature review basically forms the foundation for your research. It allows other authorities in your topic area to understand why you need to re-evaluate the same topic. By showing a missing link in the previous research results, you are able to demonstrate that there is more that needs to be done. This can be a simple skewing in the available data, or a totally different view of the same topic, perhaps based on new technological advancements, evolution and new ideas that have emerged.
It can also be founded on the basis of new data obtained from recent studies that were perhaps not available at the time of previous research studies.
Either way, regardless of what created the gap, it is up to you to demonstrate a clear understanding of the topic so that you can proceed forth to carry out a research study that answers the specific question that you raised. With a good literature review, this becomes easy.
Sometimes, groups of researchers also collaborate to evaluate previous research data and findings. In these cases, too, they need to formulate specific and focused questions that they need to answer. These also form collaborative literature reviews employing Campbell literature review type of lit review to help collectively answer the specific question.
So, what is a literature review in research methodology is a question whose answer becomes the foundation of any good scientific and systematic research. Applying outlines research methodologies, and using a well-compiled literature review allows any scholar to satisfactorily answer any questions raised within a certain area of study or research project, thesis, or research paper.