Q: How to select suitable literature and write a literature review in a social sciences paper?

1 Answer to this question

I assume you want to know more about how to find relevant literature and how to write the literature review section of your paper. I have edited your question accordingly for the purpose of clarity.

First let me give you a few tips on how you can find suitable literature for your research. Finding the most relevant literature is the basic step in a research journey. The key sources for finding suitable material are journals that publish articles related to your field. You can access articles through the internet or your institution’s library. You can look for reference material on databases that are most suitable to the field of social science. Your university library is likely to have subscriptions to subject directories and databases relevant to your field. You can ask your librarian to give you access to these. 

Alternatively, you can use Google Scholar or the Directory of Open Access Journals(DOAJ) to look for relevant articles.

This article will help you understad how to refine your search for suitable literature:

Now let us move to the second part of your question. As you must already know, literature review is part of the Introduction section. A literature review should not be a mere description of all the available information on the topic. It should be a critical and analytical summary of the selected literature that will evaluate the progress of knowledge in a research area that lead to your study. The main purpose of a literature review is to introduce the readers to the need for conducting your research. Here's how you can organize your literature review:

  • Begin with some background literature about the broad research topic to set context and introduce the broad field of study.
  • You can then move on to recent progress on the study topic. Ideally, separate themes should be discussed in a chronological manner to describe how research in the field has evolved over time and to highlight the progress in the field.
  • Provide a comparison and contrast of different studies and discuss the controversial aspects as this will help identify the main gaps that need to be worked upon.
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of other studies that have tackled the same problem. This is important for outlining the need and novelty of the research.

You can also refer to these articles to learn more about how you can write the literature review section of your paper effectively: