How To Do A Literature Review

Term Paper General Instruction and Guide for literature review
1. The content of the term paper must be organized and presented in a written report meeting the following stipulations:

a. A typed word document in no less than 10 pages

b. Double spaced, “Times New Roman” font with font size 12.

c. Must include a one page abstract summarizing the content of the work done and should include the following sections:

i. Background/introduction

ii. Methods

iii. Results/findings

iv. Discussions

v. Conclusions

d. The abstract should be followed by the body of the document where in detail information on the Health Condition or Health Disability will be provided.
This information must include but is not limited to

i. Brief history of your Health Condition or Health Disability, ii. Incidence and prevalence- National, Local, Regional,( People, Place and Time)

1. Incidence and Prevalence for a. Gender b. Race c. Ethnicity d. Age group iii. Risk factors population are at risk for the conditions including those with exceptionally higher risks

iv. Geographic regions mostly affected xii.
Describe the effects/contributions of the environment

xiii. Family and community on this Health Condition or Health Disability

xiv. Related quality of life related to the Health Condition or Health Disability

f. Conclusion: Finally close with your own conclusion.

g. Document must include all references and all cited sources used to compile the report and presentation. h. No less than 10 peer-reviewed and or authentic agencies and sources will be accepted.

How To Do A Literature Review?

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a summary of previous research on a topic. Literature reviews can be either a part of a larger report of a research project, a thesis or a bibliographic essay that is published separately in a scholarly journal.

Some questions to think about as you develop your literature review:  What is known about the subject?  Are there any gaps in the knowledge of the subject?  Have areas of further study been identified by other researchers that you may want to consider?  Who are the significant research personalities in this area?
 Is there consensus about the topic?  What aspects have generated significant debate on the topic?

Lit review What methods or problems were identified by others studying in the field and how might they impact your research?  What is the most productive methodology for your research based on the literature you have reviewed?  What is the current status of research in this area?

 What sources of information or data were identified that might be useful to you?
If the literature review is part of a Ph.D. dissertation, this review will be comprehensive covering all research on the topic. As part of your research report, you need to cover the major work that has been done on the topic recently, but it is not necessary to try to identify all research on the subject.

What is the Purpose of a Literature Review?

The purpose of a literature review is to convey to the reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic and what are the strengths and weaknesses. The literature review allows the reader to be brought up to date regarding the state of research in the field and familiarizes the reader with any contrasting perspectives and viewpoints on the topic.
There are good reasons for beginning a literature review before starting a research paper.

These reasons include:
 To see what has and has not been investigated.  To develop general explanation for observed variations in a behavior or phenomenon.

 To identify potential relationships between concepts and to identify researchable hypotheses.  To learn how others have defined and measured key concepts.  To identify data sources that other researches have used.  To develop alternative research projects.  To discover how a research project is related to the work of others.

How to do a Literature Search?

1.Developing a search strategy

 Defining the topic – In order to begin your literature review you must first define your research question. What is the purpose? What does it mean? What are the key words?

Are there other words which could be used, such as synonyms, variations in spelling? What do you already know about the topic? What is the scope? Do you need everything ever written in English on this topic, or just the last ten years?
 Compiling a list of keywords – Before beginning a search for information, it is important to develop a search strategy that will most effectively locate useful, relevant information.

This will often involve breaking down an essay or research question into: keywords or phrases; entering your search; and evaluating your results to determine whether you need to employ various strategies to broaden, narrow or otherwise modify your research.
Analyzing the topic of an essay question or research topic usually involves making a list of keywords or phrases.

You will need to include all the key concepts or ideas contained within the essay or research question. It might be useful to include alternative ways of phrasing and expressing concepts and ideas. Think about both general terms and very specific terms for broadening and narrowing your search.
The keyword or phrase is the basic unit of any search.

You may find it helpful to consult subject dictionaries and encyclopedias, or a textbook glossary for the common terminology of the subject area. The use of an index and/or thesaurus is also advisable to establish the useful terms.

2. Identifying Resources –

Information is available in a number of formats. It is important for you to understand the significance of various formats so that you know what will best suit your information requirements.

 Books  Reference Materials  Journals  Conference Papers  Dissertations  Internet  Indexes/Abstracts Printed  Electronic Databases  Government publications  Theses

3. Examples of good Literature Reviews

 Boyanov, M. I., S. D. Kelly, K. M. Kemner, B. A. Bunker, J. B. Fein and D. A. Fowle. 2003. Adsorption of cadmium to Bacillus subtilis bacterial cell walls: a pH-dependent X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy study . Geochimica et Cosmochimica ActaPages. 67 , 18: 3299-3536.

 Chan, Steve. (1997) In Search of Democratic Peace: Problems and Promise. Mershon International Studies Review. 41,1:59- 92.

 Goeser, C. 2003. On The Cross of The South: The Scottsboro Boys as Vernacular Christs in Harlem Renaissance Illustration . International Review of African American Art. 19,1: 19-27.

 Holt,-Robert-R . 2003. Some history of a methodological rediscovery. American-Psychologist . 58,5: 406-407. db/09.03
Example of Paraphrasing:
As more information in different formats becomes accessible, many accreditation organizations view information literacy, with its emphasis on the location, application and evaluation of information as a vital component of critical thinking and analytical skills.

To assist in reaching a consensus about the definition of information literacy, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) defined an information literate person as one who understands when information is needed and has the ability to locate, evaluate, and use that information efficiently and effectively.


According to Saunders (February 2007), with the proliferation of information in various formats, accreditation bodies have realized the importance of information literacy standards in education.
With the endorsement of the Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL), standards have been included in accreditation requirements to make students proficient at locating, evaluating, and having the ability to use information effectively and efficiently to acquire analytical and critical thinking skills for lifelong learning.


Saunders, L. (2007, May). Regional Accreditation Organizations’ Treatment of Information Literacy: Definitions, Collaboration, and Assessment. Journal of Academic Librarianship , 33 (3), 317-326. Retrieved February 8, 2008, from Academic Search Premier databa Paper format APA

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