A literature review is
} the revisiting of available documents (both published and unpublished) on a research topic, which contain information, ideas, data and evidence in order to identify research gaps.
} It stresses out methodological inconsistencies in the previous research.
} It also gives justification as well as background to our new research.
Purpose of Literature Review
• It provides a historical background for your research;
• It gives an overview of the current context in which your research is situated, by referring to contemporary debates, issues and questions in the field;
• It includes a discussion on relevant theories and concepts which underpin your research;
• It introduces relevant terminology and provides definitions to clarify how terms are being used in the context of your own work;
• It describes related research in the field and shows how your research work extends or challenges this or addresses gap in the work in the field;
• It provides supporting evidence for a cause, for which you are going to undertake a new research.
Source of information
} Books (Text Books-Specialized Books-Reference Books)
} Journal Articles
} Published Literature Review of a Subject / Field (ICSSR Series)
} Grey Literature (Reports, Theses, Conference Proceedings, Working Papers, media reports, letters and personal diaries-(Not formally published by a publisher )
Process of Reviewing Literature (Searching, Reading, Writing)
} Locating previous study on the issue
} Exploring ideas around the topic
} Developing Categories and theme for reading
} Identification of Theories, Concepts and Methodology.
} Developing categories of themes for writing.
} Specifying heading and sub headings for review.
} Writing and revisiting drafts
} Developing own argument
} Justifying research problem
} Formulating research questions
} Writing review
Ordering of Reviews
•Panchayatiraj in Tribal Areas of Madhya Pradesh
•Panchayatiraj in Madhya Pradesh
•Panchayatiraj in India
} Mention the research gap and justification of your work (rationale of the study).
} Specify objectives of your study.
} Specify research questions
} Justify your methodology to deal with the objectives.
} Chalk out method and data collection strategy for the study.
Population or sample
¡ A population is any well-defined set of units of analysis: people, countries, events, years
¡ A sample, by contrast, is any subset of units collected in some manner from the population
¡ Due to considerations of time, money and other costs, data collection is done from a sample and not entire population
¡ Information based on sample is less accurate or more subject to error than that based on entire poulation
The Basics of Sampling
¡ Studies of public opinion and voting behavior always rely on sampling
¡ Empirical findings that emerge from a sample apply to only that population: avoid generalizations
¡ Data are obtained according to certain well-established rules
¡ A sample of blood is a subset of all the blood in human body/ few grains of rice from the entire vessel of cooked rice
Types of Samples
¡ Two basic types of samples: probability and nonprobability sample
¡ Probability sample is one in which each element is in the total population has a known probability of being included in the sample
¡ Nonprobability sample is one in which each element in the population has an unknown probability of being included in the sample
¡ Probability samples are preferred to nonprobability samples
Types of Probability Samples
¡ Major types of probability samples:
- Simple random samples
- Systematic samples
- Stratified samples
- Cluster samples
- Telephone samples
Simple Random Samples (SRS)
¡ Each element has an equal chance of being sampled
¡ List of all the elements in the population must be available
¡ Proper method for selecting those elements
¡ Two common methods of selecting a sample: generate a random numbers table manually or by computer;
¡ ‘by the lot’ method- all elements tossed in a hat and elements are randomly drawn till the desired sample is reached
Systematic Samples (SS)
¡ Elements are selected from a list at predetermined numbers in a systematic manner
¡ This number is called the sampling interval which is decided after a random start
¡ SS is very useful when sampling from a long list of population elements
¡ Bias occurs in SS if population element are ranked according to a characteristic or a pattern
¡ Elements sharing one or more characteristics are grouped and elements are selected from each group in proportion to the group’s representation in the total population
¡ Sampling may be done either by simple randomization or by systematic sampling from each stratum
¡ Stratified sample may be proportionate or disproportionate
¡ Proportionate sampling is in proportion to the size of the population
¡ Sampling fraction: size of the desired sample divided by the size of the population
¡ Disproportionate sample is taken when a stratum is either underrepresented or overrepresented
Cluster Samples (CS)
¡ CS is used when there is no list of population element
¡ Sampling frame is divided into clusters of elements and listed as sampling units
¡ Sampling is done from these sampling units
¡ There may be multi-stage clustering of sample units
¡ A drawback of CS is greater imprecision due to sampling error ( discrepancy between an observed and a true value)
Nonprobability samples (NS)
¡ In NS each element in the population has an unknown probability of being selected
¡ NS may be preferred over PS when latter is too expensive or population is ill-defined
¡ NS may be preferred when unusual cases may be more informative than representative ones
¡ NS may be of different types: purposive, convenience, quota, snowball
¡ Purposive sample: the goal is to study a diverse and usually a limited number of observations
¡ Convenience sample: easy for researcher to select; good for exploratory research
¡ Quota sample: elements are sampled proportionately in a purposive and convenient way
¡ Snowball sample: respondents are used to identify other persons for inclusion in the sample; useful to select difficult-to-locate population
a research problem is one which requires a researcher to find out the best solution for the
any question that you want answered and any assumption or assertion that you want to challenge or investigate can become a research problem or a research topic for your study.
According to Powers, Meenaghan and T woomey (1985:38), ‘Potential research questions may occur to us on a regular basis, but the process of formulating them in a meaningful way is not at all an easy task. ‘First identifying and then specifying a research problem might seem like research tasks that ought to be easy and quickly accomplished. However, such is often not the case’ (Y egidis & W einback 1991:35).
Sources of research problems
Considerations in selecting a research problem
Measurement of concepts
Level of expertise
Availability of data
Steps in formulating a research problem
Step 1 Identify a broad field or subject area of interest to you
Step 2 Dissect the broad area into subareas
Step 3 Select what is of most interest to you
Step 4 Raise research questions.
Step 5 Formulate objectives
Step 6 Assess your objectives