Common Mistakes During Literature Review

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Literature reviews require patience and diligence.  Gall, Borg and Gall (1996) highlight seven common mistakes that people can make during the review process:

  1. Does not clearly relate the findings of the literature review to the researcher’s own study.
  2. Does not take sufficient time to define the best descriptors and identify the best sources to use in reviewing the literature related to one’s topic.
  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, rather than examining critically all aspects of the research design and analysis.
  5. Does not report the search procedures that were used in the literature review.
  6. Reports isolated statistical results rather than synthesizing them by chi-square or meta-analysis methods.
  7. Does not consider contrary findings and alternative interpretations in synthesizing qualitative literature.

Most students strive to read everything and most reading materials are trivial articles that are a waste of time. A lot of time is spent reading NOT writing. Writing helps to  reflect upon ideas and foster a better understanding of information h and how information is connected to one another.


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