Questions Relating to the Structure and Development of the Literature Review


QuestionsRelating to the Structure and Development of the Literature Review

Whatquestions do you have regarding the structure and development of theliterature review?

Ina thematic literature review, the work can be organized thematicallyor chronologically (Dena, 2001). If the review is organizedthematically, the sources are grouped and discussed in terms of thethemes, topics, and theoretical concepts that the writers thinks areimportant to understand the topic or that have been identified afterreviewing key studies on the topic(Dena, 2001). On the other hand,the sources are grouped and discusses based on the date of theirpublication in chronological structure (Dena, 2001). Why istheoretical structure regarded as stronger than the chronologicalstructure?

Manyauthors have indicated that writing a literature review should beviewed as part and parcel of the research process and not somethingthat occurs after reading the relevant literature (Student LearningDevelopment, 2009). Wellington et al. (2005) stated that the wholeprocess should be perceived as “Writingwhile you collect and collecting while you write.’’What is the difference and why is it important?

Taylor&amp Procter (2008), indicated that, if it is eminent that there isno research in the field, one should probably contemplate changingthe topic. This statement is based on the idea that ploughing anunknown filed as a novice researcher may be a gargantuan task. Theauthors also state that there may be little or no help. But what ifthe topic is a great idea, but there is nothing published about it?What if it does not fit with previous researches? Is lack of priorresearch an enough grounds for changing the research topic?

Lastly,why is it advisable not to promise too much in the last part of theliterature review? For example, stating that research will changepractice or solve a problem. Why is it safer and more realistic tostate that a particular research will address a given gap rather thatit will fill a gap?


Dena,T. (2001). TheLiterature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It. University CollegeWriting Centre. Universityof Toronto Writing a Literature Review. Academic Skills Centre.University of Canberra.

TaylorD. &amp Procter M. (2008). Theliterature review: a few tips of conducting it.Health Services Writing Centre: University of Toronto.

StudentLearning Development. (2009). Doinga literature review.University of Leicester. Retrieved from: