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SSW820: Social Work Research Methods (Ph.D.): Literature Review

Summer 2022: J. Alschech


Here are some videos on YouTube that come recommended by SSW faculty.

And here is another great one:

What Is a Literature Review?

What is a Literature Review?

  • Surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory(ies).
  • Summarizes and synthesizes, often within specific conceptual categories.
  • Provides an overview and critical evaluation of the most significant sources you explored while researching a particular topic
  • Demonstrates to your readers how your research fits into your larger field of study.

A Literature Review is NOT a summary of the articles

-- that's an annotated bibliography

Purpose of a Literature Review

  • Increases your knowledge in your area of research, including seminal research and opposing viewpoints.
  • Leads to new insights and changes in practice, possible because you reviewed all available research in a particular area.
  • Helps you identify main methodologies and research techniques.
  • Allows one piece of research to be viewed within the wider context of others.
  • Enhances subject vocabulary.
  • Relates ideas and theory to applications

Structure of a Literature Review

  • Introduction
  • Each body paragraphs contains:
    • Statement that explains the information presented
    • Evidence, including summaries and citations
  • Conclusion


Literature Review Cover Image Aveyard, H. (2014). Doing a literature review in health and social care: A practical guide.3d ed. New York: Open University Press

Taking Notes During Your Research

  • Note the citation information
  • Summarize key points (including quotes) and note page numbers
  • Identify context or relationships to your research question
  • How is this significant?
  • Important figures (brief description and page numbers)
  • References to follow-up on

Get help from Esther Roth-Katz

Esther Roth-Katz


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