Literature Review: Math & Sciences


Goal

To provide a general overview of the current findings in a particular field, and to encourage further research.

Structure

A literature review consolidates previous research and draws conclusions about what needs to done in the future and/or refutes previous ideas. The author should synthesize many sources, especially other research papers, and actually do research. Generally it is a good idea to include figures. 

Generally the structure includes:

General Background Information

This section includes the introduction, an overview of the past, literature that is relevant to your work, an explanation for the purpose of your study, and your hypothesis to be tested.

Theory

In this section you will outline relevant theories that impact your study.

Review of the literature on the instruments

Here you will review the instruments or measures you used as part of your study. You need to present evidence that supports why you chose certain instruments over others.

Summary

This part is simply a concise summary about the current state of knowledge on your topic and the instruments used.

Tips

Literature Review Tips

How do you set a persuasive tone in scientific journals?

According to Leah Byrne, it is especially important to remain objective when gathering data and setting up blind controls in a way that is not biased or skewed. The purpose of writing in scientific journals is to get closer to the truth and not get too attached to theories and emotions that may cloud judgment. 

How do you write a good review?

Writing a good review mainly relies on two aspects of writing: argument and evidence. Literature reviews aren’t just a summary about the topic at hand. A review also extends the topic and takes the idea to the next step. In other words, the writer’s responsibility is also to come up with a new way of looking at the topic. This entails persuasive skills as well as evidence to support the writer’s claim.