You are here

Seven Steps to a Comprehensive Literature Review

Seven Steps to a Comprehensive Literature Review
A Multimodal and Cultural Approach

First Edition

February 2016 | 440 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This dynamic guide to doing literature reviews demystifies the process in seven steps to show researchers how to produce a comprehensive literature review. Teaching techniques to bring systematic thoroughness and reflexivity to research, the authors show how to achieve a rich, ethical and reflexive review.


What makes this book unique:

  • Focuses on multimodal texts and settings such as observations, documents, social media, experts in the field and secondary data so that your review covers the full research environment
  • Puts mixed methods at the centre of the process
  • Shows you how to synthesize information thematically, rather than merely summarize the existing literature and findings
  • Brings culture into the process to help you address bias and understand the role of knowledge interpretation, guiding you through
  • Teaches the CORE of the literature review – Critical thinking, Organization, Reflections and Evaluation – and provides a guide for reflexivity at the end of each of the seven steps
  • Visualizes the steps with roadmaps so you can track progress and self-evaluate as you learn the steps

This book is the essential best practices guide for students and researchers, providing the understanding and tools to approach both the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of a rigorous, comprehensive, literature review.

Chapter 1: Foundations of the Literature Review
Chapter 2: The Literature Review
Chapter 3: Methodology of the Literature Review
Chapter 4: Step 1: Exploring Beliefs and Topics
Chapter 5: Step 2: Initiating the Search
Chapter 6: Step 3: Storing and Organizing Information
Chapter 7: Step 4: Selecting/Deselecting Information
Chapter 8: Step 5: Expanding the Search: Media, Observation(s), Documents, Experts and Secondary Data
Chapter 9: Step 6: Analyzing and Synthesizing Information
Chapter 10: Step 7: Presenting the CLR Report: Planning Phase
Chapter 11: Step 7: Presenting the CLR Written Report
Appendix A: Supplemental Tables of Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research Designs
Appendix B: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Legitimation Frameworks

This is by far the most comprehensive text on how to do comprehensive literature reviews!  Onwuegbuzie and Frels skilfully demonstrate that review has a methodology of its own.  Both novice and experienced scholars will benefit from detailed examples and step-by-step demonstrations of ways to maximize the effectiveness of literature reviews to build new theories and develop better explanations of behaviours and outcomes. 

Abbas Tashakkori
Department of Educational Psychology,University of North Texas

This is the most comprehensive and user-friendly book I’ve seen on how to conduct a literature review. The authors take the distinction of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research seriously, showing how each adds something important and how being open-minded results in the use of literature based on all three approaches. Overall, the book provides a process theory of literature review, that is done before, during, and after each research study. It is a must read for both PhD students and research faculty.

Burke Johnson
Department of Professional Studies, University of South Alabama

With noteworthy scope of content, this book  is a must-have resource for beginning and experienced researchers alike. In addition to its effective pedagogical features such as visuals and end of chapter questions, this resource enables researchers to make informed decisions about the purposes of and procedures for undertaking a literature review. In so doing, the authors innovate and advance our understandings of the processes and products involved in a comprehensive literature review and provide practical guidance for each of the steps. I have been seeking such a book and plan to make this required reading for the graduate students I instruct, mentor, and supervise.

Cheryl N. Poth
Centre for for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation, University of Alberta

Seven Steps to a Comprehensive Literature Review is a comprehensive text book written to instruct master’s-level students, doctoral-level students, and new and experienced researchers in the process of writing a comprehensive literature review... Hopefully, this book will become an important text used by instructors as they guide college students into the writing of the literature review.

Jan Kirksey Williams
The Qualitative Report

Sadly this book never arrived despite me being very interested to adopt for my MSc students dissertation stage.

Mrs Rebecca Rippon
Acute Adult Care, Chester University
November 11, 2022

The literature review is one of the toughest parts of any proposal (or postgraduate piece of work) for students to complete successfully because it asks the student to engage with the theory they will be using from the perspective of ideas alone. IT also asks the student to investigate other academics' work in a manner that they haven't really experienced before. All these "firsts" make the literature review a very confusing and oftentimes daunting process. Fortunately, "Seven Steps" provides the specific guidance that so many students need to navigate this difficult process. The systematic way in which the book approaches a topic that can be said to change with each application (e.g. How do you go about it? What to include? What to leave out? and most importantly, Why?) is indispensable for anyone teaching students new to postgraduate work, or for researchers looking for an alternative approach to a process they are otherwise well-acquainted with.

Dr Mark Kirby-Hirst
Department of Communication Science, University of South Africa
October 18, 2016

Very accessible book for students who wish to increase their capabilites in working at the front end of their papers.

Professor Claas Christian Germelmann
Business Administration , University of Bayreuth
September 10, 2016

Comprehensive, well structured book, which will be very useful to students planning a literature review.

Ms Marie Therese Stanton
School of Medicine & Medical Science, University College Dublin
March 3, 2016

this book is more relevant for the MSc students. it will be a good supplement for the student who wants to go a little further

Ms Jennifer Parr
Nuffield Ctr for Int'l Health & Dev, Leeds University
August 16, 2016

it was actually a little more complex than I was hoping for. the text is dense and it is big book. for my BSc students it is jut a little too much

Ms Jennifer Parr
Nuffield Ctr for Int'l Health & Dev, Leeds University
August 16, 2016

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781446248928

ISBN: 9781446248911