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Literature Review

The literature review has a two-fold purpose: to justify the focus of your study and to provide a rationale for your methodological approach. To do both effectively, you need to engage in considerable synthesis and critical analysis of current research in your field.

Synthesis will allow you to address inconsistencies in existing research and shed light on contradictions that point to the need for your study. You want to avoid summary of individual studies. While discussed in depth, they will ultimately be used to drive an ideas-based argument for your own original research.

Critical analysis is necessary for exploring the strengths and weaknesses of recent studies in your field, particularly as those studies help you to better understand and discuss existing inconsistencies and conflicts. However, and regardless of whether you’re conducting quantitative or qualitative research (or a mixed methods study!), analysis is a critical part of justifying your proposed study’s methodological approach.

We can absolutely tailor this support to meet your current needs and timeline, so please let us know how we can assist.


As a first step, we identify new and additional research by performing targeted keyword searches on large databases such as ProQuest, EBSCOHost, and ScienceDirect, and include full information on the details of what and how we searched for easy replication.


After identifying 75-100 peer-reviewed, scholarly sources for the topic and theoretical or conceptual framework, our next step is to identify relevant themes and sub-themes within current scholarship. This is central to defining a current research gap, and here, we’ll use your study’s foundational elements, and in particular the research questions, as our guide.


We then review the identified research to ensure your argument provides clear support for your proposed research design. As part of this work, we include and analyse sources that, whenever relevant, highlight your methodology as a proven approach within your field–but one that has not been applied effectively or as yet to the specific question your study aims to answer.