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Scholars and researchers do literature reviews when creating a research document.
Literature reviews can be independent documents. There are books of literature reviews that come out every year or every other year, identifying and describing publications in a particular field. These often have titles such as "The Year's Work in .....," Or "Annual Review of....."
They can be part of the kind of research activity that might be published in a professional journal. Usually, literature reviews are among the first elements of such documents, following the introduction and the hypothesis.
They can be part of a document being submitted for funding, such as a grant proposal.
Literature reviews should examine and compare different theories, find connections and conflicts both current and historic, using the lense of a particular point of view. The compiler should explore a variety of tools to collect major research content on a topic. Wesleyan University says that "The specific organization of a literature review depends on the type and purpose of the review, as well as on the specific field or topic being reviewed." Literature reviews can be organized by concept, theory or process, depending on the topic. If earlier work on the same topic is missing one or more elements, a literature review can point those out.
Literature reviews mainly serve two purposes:
Conducting a literature review will help you define your hypothesis by narrowing your focus and make your hypothesis more specific.
By reviewing the research that has already been done, you
will be able to determine how to make your subject fit in with other concepts in the field. Ideally, this will make it easier for you to select and discard items you identify through your research effort.
Library. Wesleyan University. "What is a Literature Review?" n.d. Retrieved 31 Mar. 2009.
< http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/tut/litrev/thelitrev.html > .