A literature review is a description and discussion of the literature relevant to a particular field or topic. Its purpose is to critically analyse a field of published literature by considering the achievements and weaknesses of prior studies. It also contextualises your work in relation to other writing that has been published on your topic. A literature review offers an overview of: • What has already been written about your topic • Who the key theorists/thinkers are • What the core theories are • What questions this literature has asked, and • What methodological approaches have been applied to this research It focuses on outlining the work of others rather than introducing a new contribution to the field: this will come later when you develop your own argument. In providing an overview, your literature review should summaries and synthesise the writing you have read. A summary is a recap of the important information of each text. A synthesis is a re-organisation of that information. Your aim is to evaluate the contribution of the texts you are reviewing, considering their usefulness for your own project, and also discussing them in an integrated way rather than organising them as a list of texts.There are a number of questions you might ask of the texts you have engaged with to help you do this:• What are the key arguments of this text and how do they relate to/refute/elaborate upon the work of others texts you have read?• What are the limitations or weaknesses of this text, and might these be addressed by other texts you’ve read?• When was the text published? Might later work or socio-cultural or technological developments have moved knowledge on?• Do any significant questions arise that might lead you to look to other texts, or a new line of enquiry in your own research?Consider how shared themes might group certain texts together: this might be useful as you organise your literature review.Introduction: Should give an overview of the focus of the literature review, its organisation and core themes. Define your topic and your reason for selecting it; identify overall trends, gaps and themes, and establish your writerly point of view.Body: Can be organised thematically, chronologically or methodologically but should not be organised text by text. You should be led by what method of organising the work makes the most sense to you. Summarise texts with as much or as little detail as necessary, remembering that length of discussion denotes significance of the work to your own study. Provide your reader with topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph to act as ‘signposts’ to aid their navigation through your discussion.A thematic organisation of work is when discussion of literature is organised around a topic or issue.A chronological organisation is called for if shared perspectives on a topic or theme has changed over time, and you wish to show this clear progression.A methodological organisation focuses on the methods implemented by each writer, rather than focusing on the content of the material.You may need to include other sections that deal with the following:• Current Situation: Information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.• History: The chronological progression of the field, the literature,or an idea that is necessary to understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology. • Methods and/or Standards: The criteria you used to select the sources in your literature review or the way in which you present your information. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals.Conclusion: summarise the major contributions, evaluating the current position for the body of knowledge reviewed and pointing out flaws in methodology, gaps in the research, contradictions, and areas for further study. Provide some insight into the relationship between the central topic of the literature review and a larger area of study such as a discipline.Some points to consider: • Use evidence: Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence to show that what you are saying is valid.• Be selective: Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the review’s focus, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological. • Use quotes sparingly: Some short quotes here and there are okay, though, if you want to emphasize a point, or if what the author said just cannot be rewritten in your own words. • Summarise and synthesise: Remember to summarise and synthesise your sources within each paragraph as well as throughout the review.• Keep your own voice: While the literature review presents others’ ideas, your authorial voice should remain. • Use caution when paraphrasing: When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author’s information or opinions accurately and in your own words and reference it correctly. THE QUESTION TO BE DISCUSSED-The effects that image representation has on female students in the UK in relation to self-esteem and digital manipulation that leads to unhealthy living habits.
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