A literature review is an essential component of any academic writing like a thesis, dissertation, research paper, journal article, research proposal, etc. It may also form part of an application for a grant, or a review article purely based on an annotated bibliography. There are minor changes in the literature review we write depending on the purpose for which we write it. We will have to determine how exhaustive it must be.
Another important thing is to remember whether there are any instructions about the literature review we are going to prepare. Very often universities or research foundations will have specified their own norms as regards the configuration of the literature review. We must also note down the style of documentation recommended by the institution. That is necessary because when we start writing we will have to conform to that style.
We know that literature review is the systematic written summary of all the available literature on the research topic. That is in fact a summary of the all the previous research work that have been conducted so far on the specific research topic under consideration. The reports of the previous research work may be available in different formats and in different places. It is the duty of the researcher to collect all those sources.
Collection of literature is a very important stage in any research work. That is a stage which requires much care and attention too. We should not only take care to collect all relevant material available on the topic but also ensure that what we collect is up to date and authentic.
The literature we collect can be books, ebooks, various other web sources, scholarly articles, newspaper reports, interviews, thesises and dissertations, research reports, etc. It may also include government documents, press releases, archives, manuscripts, etc. Such sources are not easily accessible and so we must follow the necessary formalities to make them available. Sometimes we may have to work really hard in order to procure material but it will often be worth the trouble.
We must ensure that we have noted all the details about the sources for the material we collect. That will be essential when we write the literature review. If we have followed all these steps correctly and fully we can start writing our literature review.