Review of literature is an exercise or activity in which a researcher tries to Identify, locate, read and evaluate report of previous relevant researches, published articles, research abstract, textbooks, encyclopedia, observation, opinions & comments related to his/her intended research topics in the area.
The aim of this task is to provide you, the researcher with good knowledge of the state of art in the area you are working. The essence of this is to afford him the opportunity of knowing what areas have been covered, what remain to be covered, what techniques to employ in his/her investigation.
This is an expanded discussion of what the discipline (your audience) already knows. This may include more developed discussions of definitions, histories, and/or theories. It may also make connections between similar research and display any contradictions that you found.
It establishes for your reader that you understand the topic and that your contribution is valuable. The object of this portion of the paper is to explain the research thoroughly enough to allow your audience to understand the material without having to do any additional reading.
To ignore this, therefore implies that you want to duplicate previous studies, use inappropriate techniques and you end up not contributing much to the advancement of knowledge.
To further buttress the points above, review of literature is needed to help you as a researcher to: i) understand previous studies, ii) sharpen your focus and iii) choosing the appropriate of method for carrying out your investigation.
Some of the importance of conducting literature review in the research process is outlined as follow:
- To gain knowledge previous study of various research findings and research methodology to guide you in conduct of your present or future research
- To provide evidence that you are familiar with what is already known and what is still unknown and untested.
- To expose “gaps” or “missing links” in the existing body of knowledge. The way or means of filling this gap give rise to another topic.
- To help eliminate the duplication of what has been done and provides useful hypotheses and helpful suggestions for significant investigation.
- To provide citation that show substantial agreement and those that seem to present conflicting conclusions to help provide a background for the research study, and make the reader aware of the status of the knowledge in the area of study.
- To help you understand your research topic very well and develop your own ideas from the understanding gotten.
- Finally, to help you demonstrate your knowledge by finding out what the literatures show & connect the ideas to the literature.
Understanding what literature review is and how importance it is,will go along way in helping you conduct a sound review.