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How to write a Literature Review: Selecting the approach to use

A guide to writing a literature review.

Selecting the approach to use

Use this approach if:



You believe that:

there is an objective reality

that can be measured

there are multiple possible

realities constructed by

different individuals

Your audience is:

familiar with/supportive of

quantitative studies

familiar with/supportive

qualitative studies

Your research question is:

confirmatory, predictive

exploratory, interpretive

The available literature is:

relatively large


Your research focus:

covers a lot of breadth 

involves in-depth study

Your time available is:

relatively short 

relatively long

Your ability/desire to work

with people is:

medium to low 


Your desire for structure is:



You have skills in the area(s) of:

deductive reasoning and


inductive reasoning and

attention to detail

Your writing skills are strong

in the area of:

technical, scientific writing

literary, narrative writing