Literature Review is an evaluative presentation of information found in the literature related to ones area of study. The review describes, summarizes, evaluates, analysis and clarifies related literature. Ones personal ‘voice’ should be heard in the pursuit of the review. The literature under review should be interpreted in the light of the study being undertaken.
In a number of higher institutions of learning, literature review is forms Chapter 2 of a research project. The chapter may be presented under the following headings: theoretical review (review of general assertions with no practical or empirical evidence), empirical review (review of literature based on practical studies), critique (detailed analysis of literature, both positively and negatively) and Summary (conclusion based on the reviewed literature). In some universities, conceptual framework fall under this chapter.
In developing literature, the purpose is to convey to the reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The literature review must be defined by a guiding concept, namely the research objectives or ones argumentative thesis. It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries (Taylor, n.d ).
In essence, the maturity of a researcher or even a scholar for that matters is based on his or her potential in internalizing, conceptualizing and analyzing ideas. Literature review is not arrangement or alignment of others’ thoughts; it is about entering into a conversation or a debate; it is about agreeing and disagreeing, it is about keeping ones voice along or against others. A well reviewed piece of literature is 50 per cent others and 50 per cent ones own input. It requires maturity of thought and study to effectively review literature.
By Anthony M. Wanjohi