The purpose of carrying out a Literature Survey is to demonstrate and develop your familiarity with other people's work relevant to the focus of your study. You usually survey their written work in books and in papers in academic journals, but a survey could also include speeches, documentary films or other outputs. There are many different kinds of Literature Survey, and, depending on what kind you are doing, you may have to include one or more of the following:

  • Citation - reference to bibliographical details of the work you are referring to
  • Quotation - the exact words from the work you are using in quotation marks
  • Bibliography - list of relevant works
  • Summary - a summary of the work(s) you are making use of
  • Evaluation - your analysis and interpretation of the work you are using and your understanding of its significance: positive and negative
  • Comparison - a comparison of the work you are referring to with other similar work and your own: comparing and contrasting, using other people's work to support your own or as a springboard to give different opinions
  • Synthesis - integration of the work you are using with your own or others' writing
  • Conclusion - a final summing up of what has been found in your survey
  • Indication of a gap - an indication of what topic(s) or issue(s) have not been covered in the literature you have summarised and analysed. This shows what further research is necessary and may therefore be useful in justifying your own research.

Try the following tasks to learn more about some aspects of Literature Surveys.

Task 1

Describing items of literature:

"Research" in English is uncountable, so to quantify it you need modifiers such as "a great deal of". 

For example: "Much more research can be carried out on structure-activity."

Put an appropriate noun in the gaps.

Exercise

Task 2

Describing items of literature:

Rather than talk of ‘research’, you can use ‘study’ which is countable in English.

Which examples
a. describe studies?
b. evaluate studies?
c. list studies?
d. compare studies?

Exercise

Task 3

Describing items of literature:

In a Literature Survey you will often consider different aspect of studies; these may be factors, angles, perspectives, etc.

Rank these factors from most to least important:

Exercise

Task 4

Describing items of literature:

All these excerpts from Literature Surveys use the word ‘perspective’. Which disciplines do they belong to?  Match the examples to the disciplines below.

Exercise

Comments

I didn't understand task 3 how should I rearrange these sentences
what are the rules for that