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Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences 7th Edition

Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences 7th Edition PDF

Author: Jose L. Galvan and Melisa C. Galvan

Publisher: Routledge


Publish Date: April 7, 2017

ISBN-10: 0415315743

Pages: 308

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

This book was designed to provide students with practical guidelines for the complex process of writing literature reviews in the social and behavioral sciences. When Writing Literature Reviews was first published in 1999, university libraries had just begun to adopt digital search tools to assist with surveying the available research literature, but at the time most journals were still available only in print form. Today, by contrast, the contemporary university library is almost entirely digital, and this edition of Writing Literature Reviews has been recast to reflect this new digital landscape.

The author’s daughter, now a university professor herself and a new co-author of Writing Literature Reviews, is a product of the modern digital library, and she has lent her expertise with digital databases and her recent experience in completing a doctoral dissertation to reframe the book’s content. The result is a thorough rewriting and updating of the book, starting with the steps involved in searching databases, keeping track of citations, organizing the details gleaned from the literature surveyed, and producing a reference list or bibliography, all of which were rewritten to reflect the modern library’s digital landscapes.

The seventh edition of Writing Literature Reviews maintains its primary focus on reviewing original research published in academic journals and on its relationship to theoretical literature. However, most of the guidelines presented here can also be applied to reviews of other kinds of source materials, and feedback received from readers in other fields suggests that the guidelines presented here can easily be applied across the curriculum. In fact, our book has been adopted for use in a variety of departments representing nearly 100 universities across the U.S., and a Chinese translation1 was published in 2012 for use in universities in Taiwan and mainland China.


There are three main audiences for Writing Literature Reviews. First, this book was written for students who are asked to write literature reviews as term papers in content-area classes in the social and behavioral sciences. Often, their previous training has not prepared them for the complex task of reviewing existing research reports to produce a cohesive essay with an original point of view. Lower-division college students need guidance in learning to search databases for reports of original research and related theoretical literature, to analyze these particular types of literature, and to synthesize them into cohesive narratives. In high school, they may have relied on secondary sources such as encyclopedias, reports in the mass media, and books that synthesize the work of others. Now, they need to access the original research reports, and they need to learn the conventions for writing academic papers. This book is designed to fill these gaps by giving students detailed, step-by-step guidance on how to conduct a literature search and how to write comprehensive reviews of primary source materials.

Students beginning to work on their theses and dissertations will also benefit from this book if they have not previously received comprehensive instruction on how to prepare critical analyses of published research and the theories on which it is based. Undertaking a thesis or dissertation is stressful. This book serves as a source of calm and logic as students begin to prepare their literature review chapter. Finally, individuals preparing to write literature reviews for possible publication in journals as well as those who need to include literature reviews in grant proposals will find that this book can serve as a resource in outlining and identifying the key components for such publications.

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