Review of Literature and Importance



A review of relevant literature is necessary to put
the study in its proper perspective, and to equip the
researcher with a good knowledge of the state of the
art in the area under investigation. It is an exercise
in which the researcher tries to read and document
all existing ideas relevant to his intended field of
study. It is concerned with reading, identifying,
evaluating, and citing reports of related research.

Sources of Relevant Literature

The following are materials for literature review:
Encyclopedia and dictionaries.

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Conference papers and workshop reports
  • Magazines and NewspapersFinished research projects, theses, dissertations.

Read also: The Research Problems

Importance of Literature Review

(a) Understanding the State of Art

Literature review offers the researcher opportunity
to understand what other researchers have done, the ideas expressed, areas covered, areas yet
to explored, techniques of investigation, and shortcomings encountered.

(b) Specifying the Research Focus

A researcher’s understanding of the issues involved
in his study while reviewing related literature,
enable him to be specific in his statement of
problem. His research focus is sharpened “as he studies systematically all previous research related
to his topic. When the research focus is understood.
plausible hypotheses can be formulated.

(c) Choosing the Method of Investigation

Literature review guides the researcher choosing a
better and reliable method of investigation. As he
reviews previous studies, he gains insight into
merits and demerits of methods adopted by previous researchers.

(d) Avoiding Unnecessary Duplication

Literature review exposes to the researcher areas or
issues that had been successfully investigated by
several researchers. It implies that the researcher should not engage his talent on such over-Nogged

Organization of Literature Review

Review of Literature
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(a) Dimensions of Literature Review
There are three dimensions in the review of relevant
These dimensions are conceptual, literature. theoretical and empirical reviews.

i. Conceptual Review or Framework

Conceptual review is a step by step description of
other researchers’ previous works on the various
variables identified by the researcher as the focus of
the study. These variables form the sub theme of the
conceptual review. It involves a systematic expositions of ideas expressed by previous researchers as supporting links to the researcher’s
areas of interest, which will guide the discussion of
findings. Hence, conceptual review attempt to identify the gap that exist between previous researchers’ findings and the researcher’s area of
focus with a view to highlighting how the gap can
be filled.

In presentation, literature review are organized in
sub-themes related to the topic of study. The
researcher should choose appropriate sub-themes.
For example, consider the topie; «The problems of implementation of the senior secondary mathematics curriculum”. Issues that can be chosen as sub-themes to this topic includes; Finance, the
quality and quantity of mathematics teachers, the
extent of content coverage, supervision of instruction, Guidance and Counselling, the nature of the learners, method of assessment, etc. The sub-
themes should reflect the statement of the problem
and the research questions or hypotheses formulated for the study.-:

ii. Theoretical Review

Theoretical review Or theoretical framework focuses on the relevant theories, models, or principles that provides anchor to the study. Every research work has a theoretical framework that lends credence to the study. Hence, it is expected that researchers, in course of literature reviews ensures that they explore one or two theories related to their research focus and document such theories as supporting linkage that provides shape and foundation to their study.

iii. Empirical Review

Empirical review focuses on observable results of
previous research findings, with facts and figures,
which clarifies the relationship of the intended
study with previous one, in terms of construct.

(b) Style of Writing
Literature review is presented in a reported speech It involves paraphrasing and Paraphrasing means re-stating quotations. the passage
in researcher’s own words. Quotation means lifting the passage the way it is used in the context. Quoted
passage is usually enclosed in quotation marks.
Ouotations that takes about four or more lines may
be too long to be presented alongside in the context.
Long quotations are indented. Indenting means
beginning each line of the quotation in about the
middle vertical line of the centre of the page with
ample margins on both sides. Indented quotations
are not enclosed in quotation marks. In
presentations, ideas and findings are linked to one
another and not in isolated bits. Identical ideas or
findings are grouped together.


In carrying out a research study, ideas borrowed
from referenced materials are usually acknowledged
by citing the source. The American Psychological Association (A. P. A.) reference style is the most
extensively used in the behavioural sciences.

Sources are cited in the text, while references are
listed at the end of the research report. The A. P. A.
style uses the author-date method of citation in text.
Citations are made in the appropriate position in the text depending on the context. Only the surname of the author and year of publication are included. initials are usually omitted. The year of publication is enclosed in. brackets just after the surname of the author is written. When an idea is quoted, the page where the idea is lifted must be indicated. The page is indicated after the year of publication, and enclosed in the same bracket but separated by a colon. Specific examples are illustrates as follows:

(a) A Publication of one Author

Example: Nworgu (1991) pointed out that research
is .. If it is a quotation lifted in page 20 of the
book, then it is presented as; Nworgu (1991: 20)
stated that.” Notice that the quotation is
enclose in quotation marks.

(b) When two Authors are involve

If there are two authors in a publication, the
surname of both authors are cited every time the
reference occurs. in the text. Example: Nwosu and
Obioma (1984) remarked that curriculum is…..

(c) When there are more than two Authors
If there are more than two authors in a publication,
but less than six, all the authors are cited the first
time the reference occurred in the text. In subsequent citations, only the surname of the first author is included followed by “et al”, and the year of publication. Example, first citation; according to Onwuka, Obioma, Nwosu, and Nwagwu (1988)
subsèquent citations; Onwuka et al (1988) remarked
that … if a publication has six or more authors, the surname of the first author followed by et al is used both in first, and subsequent citations.

(d) Corporate Body

Corporate bodies are associations, institutions,
government agencies, and other corporate authors
whose publications cannot be credited to specific
individual(s) as author(s). Instead, the name of such
corporate bodies are written in full each time they
are cited in the text.

Example, the National Curriculum Volume 5, published in 1985, will be cited in the text as: Federal Ministry of Education (1985). A publication by the Institute of Education, University of Ibadan is expressed as: Institute of Education, University of Ibadan (1986).

(e)When there are. Authors with the same Surname

In order to avoid confusion, if two or more authors
bearing the same surname are to be cited in the text,
their initials are included in all text citations, even
when the year of publication differs.

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