How to Do a Literature Review in 30 Minutes or Less

When you need to do a literature review, it can mean only two things. The first case is that you have to do a literature review for the sake of a literature review. The second is that literature review is just a beginning of a bigger project.

Here’s how to do a literature review for both of these cases without spending too much time on it.

Best Practices: How to Do a Literature Review

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The first stumbling block on your way to a literature review is finding relevant resources.

Quick steps to collect the info:

  1. Choose a topic;
  2. use synonyms to find more relevant literature;
  3. use diverse sources – books, articles, websites.

Structure the info:

Remember that your literature review is not a list of useful sources and your comments on them, but rather a complete story with every point supported by a relevant link.

  • Choose a narrow question you’ll be able to research;
  • detect a gap in literature;
  • find a common denominator for sorting your sources into groups:
    1. authors’ main conclusions;
    2. research methods;
    3. theoretical basis.

👍 Proven Structure: How to Do a Literature Review

Whereas a good literature review follows a classical formula of introduction + main body + conclusion, it has some special ingredients:

  1. A gap in literature. Try to detect a little discussed aspect of your topic. Look through significant amount of literature to avoid early conclusions.
  2. Research question. Along with a strong thesis statement, this assignment should contain a clear research question in the introduction part.
  3. Your position. The best idea is to express your position in a clear and concise thesis statement.
  4. Data evaluation. Evaluate the information you find and give your feedback on every source you decide to review.
  5. Data interpretation. Interpret the information from the sources, including your own thoughts on the questions discussed.

📚 Literature Review Example

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So, here’s a good example of a literature review on job satisfaction in APA style:

Job satisfaction is a complex notion, influenced by variety of factors and affecting employees’ performance. Whereas most researchers agree on the dispositional indicators of overall satisfaction (including behavior and emotions), there’s a disparity in the investigation of the main underlying causes which determine the level of overall satisfaction.

Among the main influential factors influencing employees’ satisfaction are the payment rates, personality traits and corporate culture. Judge, Piccolo, and Podsakoff (2010) concluded that higher rates do not necessarily predict higher job satisfaction. Another study, conducted by Mathieu, Neumann, Hareb, and Babiak (2014) revealed that corporate culture and its correlation with a person’s personality are statistically significant for defining the employee’s overall job satisfaction. Defending a similar hypothesis, Ning, Jian, and Crant (2010) admitted that whereas a personal match between a company’s culture and worker’s attitudes is important, the proactive position of an employee can improve satisfaction and simplify the adaptation process. Nicodemus (2012) pointed out that there’s a close relationship between the personality type and job contentment. Adding more arguments to the existing research, Lai and Cummins (2011) stated that job satisfaction is important for measuring subjective wellbeing.

The available research indicates the important role of corporate culture and its match with an employee’s personality. At the same time, further research is needed for analyzing the potential relations between these two factors.

🔗 Reference List

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  1. Judge, T., Piccolo, R., Podsakoff, N. (2010). The relationship between pay and job satisfaction: A meta-analysis of the literature. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77 (2), 157 – 167.
  2. Lai, L., & Cummins, R. (2011). The contribution of job and partner satisfaction to the homeostatic defense of subjective wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 111 (1), 203 – 217.
  3. Mathieu, C., Neumann, C., Hareb, R., Babiak, P. (2014). A dark side of leadership: Corporate psychopathy and its influence on employee well-being and job satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 59, 83 – 88.
  4. Nicodemus, K. (2012). “Personality type and job satisfaction.” Physicians’ Pathways to Non- Traditional Careers and Leadership Opportunities, 11 – 17.
  5. Ning, L., Jian, L., Crant, M. (2010). The role of proactive personality in job satisfaction and organizational citizenship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95 (2), 395 – 404.
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