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Research Effectively: Tips on How to Review Related Literature

Professors across various disciplines require their students to write literature reviews. This article provides pertinent information on how to review related literature effectively.

Professors across various disciplines require their students to write literature reviews, which are collections of authoritative sources on particular topics. They are an essential part of research, because it provides a handy guide to more information on their subjects. This article provides pertinent information on how to review related literature effectively. By learning these techniques, you may improve your teaching skills and become more effective at grant writing. Before you start writing, keep in mind that you may need a good management cloud service to store all your files when reviewing your related literature. And once you’re done writing your research paper, you may want to promote it using different SEO strategies.

Tips on How to Review Related Literature Effectively

Evaluate the Resources

Make sure to constantly evaluate the sources that your students have incorporated into their literature review. Also, verify whether the resources contain valuable and pertinent information regarding their chosen topic.

Evaluating the resources is particularly vital when an academic library does not collect the sources your students have retrieved.

Web resources may be easily accessible. However, students and professors alike must be more careful to ensure that the sources gathered are reliable.

Below are five essential criteria to help you evaluate information from any resource:

Evaluation Criteria

1. Accuracy

The information from the sources your students gathered must be error-free to ensure its reliability. Furthermore, the details must be based on proven facts. To help you check whether the information is factual or not, you may need to verify it against other authoritative sources.

2. Authority

Check the authors’ backgrounds. Authors of scholarly journals must have the qualifications to write on a specific topic. In addition, they must be affiliated with an established organization or a reputable university in the subject field.

3. Objectivity

Carefully examine the intended purpose of the information. It must be based on facts and not merely opinions. Thus, the details in the study must be impartial.

4. Currency

It’s also necessary to check the currency of the sources. Are the pieces of information still current, or are they outdated? A good rule of thumb is to utilize sources published in the past ten years for research papers in the humanities, history, arts, and literature.

For fast-paced fields like the sciences, resources published in the past two to three years are a good benchmark since they are more current. Thus, they reflect the newest discoveries, best practices, theories, and processes.

5. Coverage

Make sure to verify whether you or your students’ resources have met your information needs. After reading their output, ask yourself if the material they used gave in-depth coverage or just basic information.

Know the Ideal Types of Periodicals for Literature Reviews

Scholarly Journals

A literature review is composed of various scholarly works. Aside from theses and dissertations, academic journals are essential resources that your students can incorporate in their literature reviews.

The authors of scholarly journals are scholars, researchers, and subject experts. The findings in the academic paper are based on in-depth analysis and stated methodology.

Most of the time, the authors use discipline-specific terminology and jargon that may be difficult to comprehend.

Scholarly journals also have references cited in footnotes or bibliographies. The frequency of their publication may be quarterly, monthly, or annually. Some advertise, but many do not.

Trade Magazines

Trade magazines are authored by paid staff with subject expertise and are members of a particular industry.

Their content is about trends, current news, products, and developments in specific fields. Like scholarly journals, authors of trade magazines also use industry-specific jargon. However, peer reviewers don’t assess the quality of trade magazines. In addition, these periodicals also have several advertisements that are usually industry related.

Trade magazines may have valuable information. Still, it’s best to use scholarly journals in literature reviews. With academic journals, you can be surer of the quality of the paper since they’re peer-reviewed.

These are non-authoritative sources. Paid staff, who are often non-experts, write these types of periodicals. They’re composed heavily of advertisements and are published daily, weekly, or monthly. These could be useful in literature reviews, but also keep in mind that they may be viewed as less credible, because they’re often written by non-experts. [Ed1]

Evaluate Different Websites

The internet is a vast network of unfiltered sources, which means anyone can put anything in it, bypassing any form of editorial or peer review. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you evaluate the web sources you and your students use before including them in your scholarly publication.

Always look for the authors’ information. Check the links that read “About this site” and “Who we are.” In addition, verify whether the webmaster provides contact information so that you can contact them with inquiries.

Lastly, look for hints on authority in the internet address (URL).

  • .com is a commercial site
  • .gov is a government agency or department
  • .net is a network provider
  • .org is a non-profit organization that may either be biased or unbiased
  • .edu is an educational institution


    Writing a literature review aims to convey what knowledge has been established on a particular topic, as well as the strengths and weaknesses[Ed2] of the information out there among the resources.

Knowing the essential information on how to review related literature is beneficial to you and your students.

Being aware of these techniques may help you alleviate your students’ anxiety about literature reviews and solidify your status as an excellent teacher.

Also Read:


  1. Literature Review - Finding the Resources

  2. Types of Periodicals - a comparison:

  3. FAQ: How Old Should or Can a Source Be for My Research?

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