Depending on the requirements of the program, a literature review may be included as part of the introduction or it may be a separate section of the proposal. If you are unsure if a literature review is required in your proposal and/or where the literature review should be located in the proposal, please check with your instructor or advisor.
Writing a literature review involves many skills that students practice all the time, such as reading literature to find out what conversations are happening between scholars, gathering and synthesizing information, comparing and contrasting ideas, and presenting information so that readers can easily understand the author’s thinking. If the research literature is where scholars have conversations with each other about their fields of study, the literature review is your opportunity to help your reader understand those conversations and how your topic fits within them.
Literature reviews in research proposals are often a preliminary version of the literature review in the completed thesis, major project, or research paper. For example, students may be asked to identify the topics they'll focus on in the final literature review and discuss those topics through synthesizing, comparing, contrasting, and/or identifying gaps in those resources. Students may also discuss the theoretical context of the proposed study in the literature review. In the final thesis, major project, or research paper, the literature review will likely be expanded to include additional resources and discussion. Check with your handbook for instructions regarding the number of topics, resources, and/or types of resources expected in the proposal's literature review. The handbook may also identify word count limits for the literature review in the proposal .
The information above regarding the expectations of a literature review in a proposal was gathered from RRU thesis and major project handbooks, current in 2020, from programs in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Management, and the College of Interdisciplinary Studies. If the details here differ from the information provided in the handbook for your project, please follow the handbook's directions.
Please watch The Literature Review video below for more information on writing a literature review. For best viewing, please expand the video to watch it in full screen mode.
If you're a Royal Roads' student and need assistance with finding sources for your literature review, please contact the Library. If you're a Royal Roads' student and you have questions about writing literature reviews, please contact the Writing Centre.
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Image credit: Image by Mohamed Assan from Pixabay