The Importance Of Review Of Related Literature In A Research Paper

Review of existing literature related to the research is an important part of any research paper, and essential to put the research work in overall perspective, connect it with earlier research work and build upon the collective intelligence and wisdom already accumulated by earlier researchers. It significantly enhances the value of any research paper.
The Importance of Review of Related Literature in a Research Paper
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A Research project begins with a thesis, usually consisting of a statement or an equation, which then needs to be analyzed through the research. Even before a thesis can take shape, one need to undertake a lot of reading and go through a lot of past work already available. Those works that remain significantly relevant for the research are usually included as Review of Literature.....


Research is an endeavor to know the truth or understand nature and its rules. An individual or even a group of them can explore and find very little in their lifetime, but when they build

their work on the research already done by others in the past, and take into account the collective knowledge and wisdom that is already available to mankind, every piece of fresh research work becomes another important step in the human quest to master its environment. This is what the review of literature contributes in a research paper.

Literature: Connecting the Past Work with the Current Project

Every piece of ongoing research needs to be connected with the work already done, to attain an overall relevance and purpose. The review of literature thus becomes a link between the research proposed and the studies already done. It tells the reader about aspects that have been already established or concluded by other authors, and also gives a chance to the reader to appreciate the evidence that has already been collected by previous research, and thus projects the current research work in the proper perspective.

It is not necessary that a research paper only reviews that work which has led to established norms and principles. The literature that deserves to be included in the review may include opposing conclusions, parallel thinking or even work that was done primarily for other purposes, but which throws light or provide useful insights to the current research area.

Review of Literature before Formalizing the Project

A large part of review of literature actually needs to be done even before the research project is formalized. This is essential to make sure that you are not repeating the work that someone has already done earlier. Sometimes, if the research proposed has already been undertaken earlier, then it provides an option of modifying the work by adding a new perspective or altering some of the methods of research to obtain a perspective that will be different from earlier works and thus more valuable. Occasionally, a research work may be an exact repetition of the work done earlier, but with a different set of data or sources of facts, and purpose of the research may just be to see if the results with a new set of data are similar to earlier works or otherwise. In some cases, the research

may be aimed at reconfirming or even refuting conclusions that have been drawn by earlier workers, or modifying them for the sake of greater accuracy.

Not All Literature is reviewed in the Paper

A good researcher usually goes through a lot more literature than is actually incorporated in the paper. This is because different literature may have differing relevance for the current project and all of it may not be worth reporting in the end, but in the initial phase, when you are looking for all aspects of an issue that could be relevant, one would like to extensively explore the literature and see if any relevant findings are already available. Some of the literature reviewed is directly relevant and hence used as a preface to explain the background of work. Then other reports may be relevant from the point of view of the project as they provide some clues to the puzzle by suggesting a hypothesis, which may be the subject matter of your research project.

Lastly, review of literature is also important to highlight difference in opinions, contradictory findings or evidence, and the different explanations given for their conclusions and differences by different authors. In some cases, an analysis of these factors can help one understand many facets of a complex issue and at other times, such analysis can lead to a new possibility that can be researched upon in the current project. Thus review of literature is a very important part of one's research.

A Crucial Part of the Research Project

There is hardly any research project which is totally unrelated with research that has taken place earlier. Usually every individual research project only adds to the plethora of evidence on a particular issue. Unless the existing work, conclusions and controversies are properly brought about, most research work would not appear relevant, nor will it appear important in the whole framework.

Thus, review of literature is a very important aspect of any research both for planning your work as well as to show its relevance and significance. It would not be wrong to say that review of pertinent literature is actually of as much importance in a research work, as the actual field research or experimentation, and the value of such field research or experiments is greatly enhanced if the researcher could connect the observations made in the research with existing literature and use that to come out with validated and interesting conclusions.

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