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The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis].Argumentative Review This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature.
A literature review surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated.
Literature reviews are designed to provide an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic and to demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within a larger field of study.
Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent.
Historical literature reviews focus on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline.
The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to obtain a good survey of relevant resources.
Your professor will probably not expect you to read everything that's available about the topic, but you'll make your job easier if you first limit scope of the research problem.
Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse.
However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews [see below].
A good strategy is to begin by searching the HOMER catalog for books about the topic and review the table of contents for chapters that focuses on specific issues.
You can also review the indexes of books to find references to specific issues that can serve as the focus of your research.