Steps followed in development of literature review include precise definition of a research problem, clear decision on the extend or scope of the research, decision on effective databases to be searched, formulation of search terms, searching general reference tools from relevant primary sources, obtaining and reading primary sources followed by note taking and summary of key points identified (Fraenkel, 1993). In order to define a research problem, it is important to focus on the bigger picture of what is expected after the research has been conducted. This would then provide a limiting ground on the extent to which research should be conducted. Establishing areas where data can be obtained forms the research potential databases, which would be accessed by well formulated search terms (key words). Each source obtained can then be read critically in order to obtain necessary key points for summary and drafting of literature review.
Four purposes of a literature review include definition and clarity of research problem, summarization of previous investigations meant to inform the reader of a research’s state, identification of relationships, contradictions, gags and inconsistencies in literature besides suggesting new steps in solving particular problems as contained in a research topic (Fraenkel, 1993)
A search term is a statement used to locate primary sources. It is made up of key words contained in the problem statement of a research work. Therefore, search terms provide direct link to information (contained in books, other research articles or online sources) be sort for by a researcher. Descriptors are subject words or headings used in identification of related articles during literature search (American Psychological Association, 2001). These methods are used concurrently to enable researchers’ easy access to information being searched for in order to effectively complete a literature review.
American Psychological Association (2001). Publication manual of the American psychological association. Washington DC: APA.
Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. H. (1993). How to design and evaluate research in education (Vol. 7). New York: McGraw-Hill.