Jamal El Ouahi

Helping researchers. Posts about scientific research & its process. Academia/Government Consulting.

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Jamal El Ouahi

Helping researchers. Posts about scientific research & its process. Academia/Government Consulting.

#25 Seven Biggest Literature Review Mistakes

Read time: 3 min.

Hey friends,

Literature reviews are needed in dissertations, theses, articles, conference proceedings, systematic reviews, reports…

Everyone struggles with literature reviews.

They’re never complete.

It takes time to read, understand papers, and think critically.

And when you start writing your literature review, you have to gather a huge volume of reading into a few pages.

Randolph (2009) lists 7 mistakes researchers commonly make when they write their literature review:

1. does not clearly relate the findings of the literature review to the researcher’s own study

2. does not take sufficient time to identify the best sources to use in review literature related to the topic under study

3. relies on secondary sources rather than on primary sources in reviewing the literature

4. uncritically accepts another researcher’s findings and interpretations as valid. It’s best to examine critically all aspects of the research design and analysis

5. does not report the search processes that were used in the literature review

6. reports isolated statistical results instead of synthesizing them by meta-analytic methods

7. does not consider contrary findings and alternative interpretations in synthesizing quantitative literature.

What else should be considered to write an excellent literature review?


Source: Randolph, J., (2009) “A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review”, Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation 14(1): 13. doi: 10.7275/b0az-8t74

That’s it for this week. Let us know in the comments if you think I missed anything or if you have any other suggestions.

As usual, if anything is unclear or if you need help with your research projects, please contact me and I will reply.

See you next Sunday!


Question of the Week

Any mistake we should be aware when writing a literature review?

Let us know in the comments.

My favorite things this week

  1. I conducted a webinar on the Web of Science API for several research institutions in France.

  2. Great interactions during my webinar about the 2023 edition of Journal Citation Reports.

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