Posted: July 19th, 2015

A Review of the Professional and Academic Literature

(1.14) Review of the Professional and Academic Literature[1]
A. Literature Review Opening Narrative

Contains a brief discussion of the content of the literature that includes a critical analysis and synthesis of various sources/content of the literature (journals, reports, and scholarly seminal books, etc.) to convince readers of depth of inquiry.

Explains the organization of the review.

Explains the strategy for searching the literature.

Includes a brief summary of the frequencies and percentages of peer reviewed articles and articles published within five years of expected CAO approval.

Ensures 85% of the total sources are peer reviewed with a minimum of 60-peer reviewed sources in the literature review.

Ensures 85% of the total sources have a publication date less than 5-years from the anticipated completion date (CAO approval).

14 – Review of the Professional and Academic Literature

This is the section where you will report the literature regarding your theoretical/conceptual framework. The approach to this section may vary by authors’ specific purpose. For example, let’s assume your study will be grounded in transformational leadership theoretical or conceptual framework; that is you are examining or exploring your phenomenon through a leadership lens. You want to report on extant research that was grounded in transformational leadership theoretical/conceptual framework. You would want to report on the literature that is as close to your topic/phenomenon as possible. In addition, you will want to include the literature for any other key variables if you are conducting a quantitative study. A basic outline is presented at appendix A.[2]

Critical analysis and synthesis of the literature will be an important piece of the review. The review of the literature is not to be a regurgitation of what you have read. It is also not to “teach” about a topic; rather, it is to show your mastery of the research on your topic and provide a comprehensive up-to-date “literature review” on your topic.  Start with an introductory section and then report the literature. This should be an exhaustive review of the literature using the chosen theoretical/conceptual framework and consist of the key and recent writings in the field.  Repeat this approach if there are any additional theories. In addition, there must be a critical analysis and synthesis for each.

[1] The average length of substantive literature review is between 30 to 40 pages (25 pages minimum). However, the need for depth and breath is required. See example at Appendix B and visit the Writing Center at: for more information on writing the literature review.

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