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Writing: Literature Review Basics
- What is Synthesis?
- Organizing Your Research
- Paraphrasing, Summary, or Direct Quotation?
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The Job of the Conclusion
The job of the conclusion is, quite literally, to conclude ... or to wrap things up so the reader feels a sense of closure. It accomplishes this by stepping back from the specifics in order to view the bigger picture of the document. In other words, it is reminding the reader of the main argument.
Whereas an introduction started out generally and moved towards discussion of a specific focus, the conclusion takes the opposite approach. It starts by reminding the reader of the contents and importance of your findings and then moves out gradually to more general topics.
For most written assignments, the conclusion is a single paragraph. It does not introduce any new information; rather, it succinctly restates your chief conclusions and places the importance of your findings within your field. Depending upon the purpose of the literature review, you may also include a brief statement of future directions or self-reflection.
Here is an easy checklist for writing a conclusion:
Is the main argument of the paper accurately restated as the first sentence (but is not copied verbatim?
In a literature review, you basicaly want to answer the question, "What did I find out? What conclusions did I come to?" Giving the reader a one-sentence answer to this question that provides a summary of your findings is a solid way to begin a conclusion.
What recommendations do you have?
Here you may offer the reader your suggestions on what you think should happen next. You can make recommendations that are specific to the evidence you have uncovered, or you can make recommendations for future research. When this area is well done, it links to previous conclusions you have already made and gives the conclusion a finished feeling.
Did you remind the reader of the importance of the topic and how it can contribute to the knowledge in the field?
Make sure that the paper places its findings in the context of some kind of needed change, relevance, or solution. If you addressed why the topic was interesting, important, or relevant in your introduction, you can loop back to that here. Other ways that can be done are to remind the reader of other research you have discussed and how your work builds upon theirs, or what gaps there may yet be to explore.
Keep these items in mind as "what not to do":
Is there a sense of closure without using words such as "In conclusion?"
If you have to use the words "In conclusion" or similar ones to launch your conclusion so the reader knows the end is near, you've got a problem. Make sure the reader has a distinct sense that the paper has come to an end without telling them it is ending. It is important to not leave the reader hanging.
Did you avoid presenting any new information?
No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion. It is simply a review of the material that is already present in the paper. The only new idea would be the suggesting of a direction for future research.
Stigmatization of the mentally ill is caused by the public’s belief in myths about the dangerousness of the mentally ill and exposing those myths can reduce stigmatization. At least one-third of the people sampled in one study said that they would both reject socially and fear violence from someone displaying behaviors associated with different mentally illnesses. Other research discovered that this rejection is associated to lack of contact with the mentally ill and that as contact increased, fear of the mentally ill decreased. The direction of the relationship between fear and rejection seems to be that fear (possibly based upon myths about mental illness) causes rejection. Taken as a whole, it appears that exposing these myths as myths increases the acceptance of the mentally ill and that staged contact with a mentally person to expose myths has an even more powerful effect. Caution must be advised, though; Martin et al.’s (2002) and Alexander and Link’s (2003) studies and the first study of Corrigan et al. (2002) were based upon paper and pencil methodologies. And while Corrigan et al.’s (2002) second study involved staged Myths of violence 6 presentations, it was conducted in a college setting with a college sample. Future research should replicate these findings in more natural settings with different populations.
Now let's break that down.
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The structure of a literature review
A literature review should be structured like any other essay: it should have an introduction, a middle or main body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should:
- define your topic and provide an appropriate context for reviewing the literature;
- establish your reasons – i.e. point of view – for
- reviewing the literature;
- explain the organisation – i.e. sequence – of the review;
- state the scope of the review – i.e. what is included and what isn’t included. For example, if you were reviewing the literature on obesity in children you might say something like: There are a large number of studies of obesity trends in the general population. However, since the focus of this research is on obesity in children, these will not be reviewed in detail and will only be referred to as appropriate.
The middle or main body should:
- organise the literature according to common themes;
- provide insight into the relation between your chosen topic and the wider subject area e.g. between obesity in children and obesity in general;
- move from a general, wider view of the literature being reviewed to the specific focus of your research.
The conclusion should:
- summarise the important aspects of the existing body of literature;
- evaluate the current state of the literature reviewed;
- identify significant flaws or gaps in existing knowledge;
- outline areas for future study;
- link your research to existing knowledge.
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Concluding Your Literature Review
In the previous blogs, we talked about searching and assessing reference papers for your literature review , and shared tips on organising and writing the content . Let’s look now at how to conclude your literature review.
One of the aims of writing the literature review is to define the purpose and contribution of your own study. Your review should therefore cover the points listed below to provide the rationale or justification for your study:
⦁ gaps in the research
⦁ limitations of previous studies
⦁ weaknesses or lack of support for existing theories
- et al.' means 'and others'.
- Use 'et al.' to cite works with three or more authors.
- The presentation (et al., et al., or rarely et al) depends on the style guide or journal guidelines
The English language has a rich history of borrowing words from other languages, especially from Latin. Latin abbreviations such as ‘a.m.’, ‘p.m.’ and ‘CV’ have become part of our everyday vocabulary. Such abbreviations are also frequently used in academic writing, from the ‘Ph.D.’ in the affiliation section to the ‘i.e.’, ‘e.g.’, ‘et al.’, and ‘QED’ in the rest of the paper.
This guide explains when and how to correctly use ‘et al.’ in a research paper.
In this guide:
- 1) Meaning of ‘et al.’
- a) Table: Correct use of ‘et al.’ by style guide
- b) Unusual scenarios
Filling a Gap is Not a Rationale in itself
You need to state clearly what your study intends to achieve and why it is important.
It is not sufficient to simply say something like, “there is a gap in the research or literature”. Your readers might think that the gap exists only because there is no reason to fill such gap.
Then what should you consider including in the conclusion of your literature review?
1. Purpose or Objective of Your Study
First, you must be clear about what the purpose or objective of your study is. For example, you need to make it clear whether your study:
⦁ is designed to answer a specific question or solve a specific problem
⦁ is an experimental study looking for a cause and effect relationship
⦁ is a correlational study looking for relationships between variables
⦁ compares different clinical or psychological treatments or interventions
⦁ presents a new technique or an adaptation of an existing one
⦁ is a meta-analysis or review of previous studies
2. Significance of your Study
Try to be specific about the significance of your study and have a clear idea about what or who will benefit from it.
To give you some examples, a benefit might include:
⦁ advancing an existing theory or developing a new one
⦁ providing a new technique that will benefit future researchers
⦁ presenting a new material or product, or refining an existing one that will benefit industry
⦁ proposing a treatment or intervention that will aid clinicians and patients
⦁ providing evidence that can be used to improve government policy-making
Steps to Writing your Literature Review Conclusion
It is important to remember that the conclusion only needs to be a few sentences long. So, do not write too much.
You can follow the steps and adapt the sample expressions listed below:
Step #1: Start with a sentence to highlight the research gap
You may consider using one of these examples:
Despite the aforementioned theoretical inferences, no study to date has provided empirical support for the hypothesized effects
Step #2: State what you did to address the problem
Try using a sentence similar to one of these:
Therefore, in a series of experiments, we explored the direct effects of a on b and c, and tested whether m had a moderating influence on these effects
Step #3: Summarise how the findings will contribute to theory and/or practice
You may consider writing in one of these ways:
The results not only provide support for the theory, but also have practical implications for industry and government decision makers
Confirmation of the suitability of the intervention in this population will provide an alternative choice of treatment for this condition, which will benefit both patients and clinicians.
Putting those sample expressions together, we have the following example literature review conclusions.
“Given the lack of evidence for the applicability of this psychological intervention in Asian populations, we conducted a randomised control trial with a sample of patients who attended the clinic at ABC Hospital. Confirmation of the suitability of the intervention in this population will provide an alternative choice of treatment for this condition, which will benefit both patients and clinicians.”
But, always remember that the wording you use will differ depending on the nature of your study.
And no matter how different the wording you use is, the fundamental elements of this summary should not change, you must cover the following:
⦁ make clear the research gap
⦁ explain how you set out to address the problem
⦁ and why it was important to do so
Wondering why some abbreviations such as ‘et al.’ and ‘e.g.’ use periods, whereas others such as CV and AD don’t? Periods are typically used if the abbreviations include lowercase or mixed-case letters. They’re usually not used with abbreviations containing only uppercase letters.
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ON YOUR 1ST ORDER
How to Conclude a Literature Review
By Laura Brown on 6th March 2019
The conclusion of the dissertation literature review focuses on a few critical points,
- Highlight the essential parts of the existing body of literature in a concise way.
- Next, you should analyse the current state of the reviewed literature .
- Explain the research gap for your chosen topic/existing knowledge.
- Now, outline the areas for future study by mentioning main agreements and disagreements in the literature.
- Finally, link the research to existing knowledge .
Now, any of you who have been into research would agree that literature review is a very exhausting process and may stress you during your academic career. It is tougher because it requires you to be organised. We have seen many students asking does a literature review need a conclusion.
Well, the answer is simple, a good literature review will always have a proper ending. But there is nothing to worry about how to write a conclusion for a literature review. Here is a complete guide for you in “four” simple yet convenient steps. These steps can really be valuable in providing an excellent presentation to your literature review help . Furthermore, you can ask us for literature review conclusion examples anytime using our live chat or email option.
Now, without further ado, let’s move towards the steps.
How To Write A Literature Review Conclusion
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Here are four major steps which can help you with how to conclude a literature review with ease.
1. Enlist Key Points
The conclusion can also be said as judgement because it gives a clear view of your work, whether you achieved your targeted objectives or not. Typically, it is not too difficult to conclude a review, but it can be challenging as well if not carried out properly.
It is crucial to find key features which should be engaging and useful as well for a reader. So at first, draft or enlist key factors before moving forward towards initialising your summary.
2. Summarise The Key Features Briefly
This is a most sensitive and important step of a dissertation literature review conclusion, where you should stick to the following things to get the job done efficiently.
- Once you are done drafting the important points , here you should mention them briefly.
- You can also take the liberty to agree or disagree with whatever literature you have gone through.
- Make sure you don’t drag your arguments while counter-arguing. Keeping your points specific is key.
- Describe, in one to two lines, how you addressed the previously identified gap .
- It is also important to point out the lapses you have noticed in previous authors’ work. Those lapses could be a misquotation of figures, a wrong pattern of research and so on.
- Alongside this, discuss existing theories and methods to build a framework for your research.
3. Educational Implications Of The Reviewed Literature
After mentioning the key factors, it is suggested to put implications to the already reviewed research. Like, as identifying problems in the already done research and giving recommendations on how these problems can be resolved.
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4. Indicating Room For Future Research
After completing the whole analysis of the particular research, you will be capable of identifying the work which can be done in future. You can also leave some gaps for future researchers so others can extend your work. This will be the final step, and this is how to end a literature review.
Tips That Can Enlighten Your Conclusion
We hope that things are very clear to you on how to write a conclusion for a literature review. If you want it to be even better and more meaningful, then you should keep the below points in mind.
- It should not be burdened with an unnecessary chain of details.
- It should be as precise and easy to understand as possible.
- You should mention important key points and findings .
- Make sure to put all points in a flow so the reader can understand your research in one go.
- Do not add anything from your own.
“Simply put, touch the prominent factors and leave them unexplained here”.
Get Help to Conclude Your Literature Review
If you are able to keep your focus around these steps and mentioned points, believe us, you will never ask anyone how to conclude literature review.
Looking At Literature Review Conclusion Example
Below are three examples which will help you understand how to conclude a literature review.
1. Firstly, you should summarise the important aspects and evaluate the current state of the existing literature.
Overall, the findings from this literature review highlight the need for further research to address the gaps in knowledge on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in college students.
2. Now, along with mentioning the gaps, come up with your approach to future study.
Therefore, to address this gap in the literature, we incorporated larger and more diverse samples, used standardised measures of mindfulness and mental health outcomes, and included longer follow-up periods to assess the long-term effects of mindfulness-based interventions on anxiety and depression.
3. Now summarise on how your findings will contribute to the particular field by linking it to the existing knowledge.
The findings from the study will provide important insights for researchers, clinicians, and educators interested in developing and implementing effective interventions to promote mental health and well-being among college students, and highlight the need for further research to establish the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in this population.
We hope that these examples will bring in more clarification and you can have a better idea about the literature review conclusion.
What basically is a literature review?
What are the 3 primary parts of a literature review, what are the goals of writing a literature review.
There are four primary objectives of writing a literature review:
1. Determining the background from the previous scholarly literature related to the topic.
2. Identifying the gaps between literature to boost further research.
3. Analysing if the theory is applicable and associating a suitable methodology.
Why is a literature review conclusion necessary?
Laura Brown, a senior content writer who writes actionable blogs at Crowd Writer.