Literature Review in Research

By: Shaifali Rachna Puri

Survey of related literature means a careful perusal of researches already done and write ups published or lectures delivered on issues directly or indirectly connected with the problem being proposed for investigation. It means having a soaking into the waters of knowledge, which has relevance to the study in hand

Every research begins from where the previous researchers have left it and goes forward, may be one inch or even less towards the solution of the problem or answer of a question. Therefore for every researcher it is essential to acquaint himself with what has already been thought, expressed and done about the problem under investigation. This is possible only if he/she reviews and surveys books, journals, newspapers, records, documents. Thesis, indexes, abstracts, dissertations and other sources of information directly or indirectly concerned with problem of investigation.

The study of related literature implies locating, reading and evaluating reports of research as well as reports of casual information and opinions that are related to the individual’s planned research project.

Research takes advantage of the knowledge that has accumulated in the past as a result of constant endeavor. It can never be undertaken in isolation of the work that has already been done on the problems, which are directly or indirectly related to the study proposed by the researcher. A careful review of the related literature on the problem similar or related to the one been investigated is one of the important steps in the planning of any research

Importance of Related Literature

(1) The review of related literature enables the researcher to define the limits of his field. It helps him to delimit and define his problem.

(2) By reviewing the related literature, the researcher can avoid unfruitful and useless problem areas. He can select those areas in which positive findings are very likely to result and his endeavors would likely add knowledge in a meaningful way.

(3) It helps a researcher to know about the tools and instruments which Proved to be useful and promising in the previous studies. The advantage of related literature is also to provide an insight into the statistical method through which validity of the results is to be established.

(4) Through the review of literature, a researcher can avoid unintentional duplication of well established findings. It is no use to replicate a study when the stability and validity of its results is to be established.

(5) Another purpose for reviewing the related literature is to know about the recommendations of previous researchers for further research which they have listed in their studies.

(6) It helps in speculating useful hypothesis and provides helpful suggestions for significant investigation. The studies that show substantial agreements and those that seem to present conflicting conclusions help the researcher to sharpen his understanding.

(7) The existing knowledge in problem area provides background of research project and makes the researcher aware of the status of the problem.

(8) By reviewing the related literature, the researcher is able to formulate an appropriate research design. The researcher studies the procedure employed by previous researchers and on the basis of this knowledge is able to formulate a design suitable to problem in hand. Analysis of measures, sampling and methods of previous research may lead to a more sophisticated design.

(9) It helps the researcher in locating the sources of data and to collect the pertinent data useful in the interpretation of results. It helps to provide suggestions for possible modifications in the research to avoid unanticipated difficulties.

Someone has said, if one fails to build the foundation of knowledge provided by review of literature, one’s work is likely to be shallow and naïve, and will often duplicate the work which has already been done.


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