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Doing a Literature Review

Doing a Literature Review
Releasing the Research Imagination

Second Edition
Additional resources:

January 2018 | 352 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
The ultimate guide to the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of literature reviewing, the second edition of the classic text shows how the literature review will unlock the full potential of one's research with:
  • A thorough exploration of the literature review process from start to finish
  • Two brand new chapters explaining the different types of review and evidence and evaluation
  • Extended examples that show you how to apply key techniques and procedures
  • A new ‘core skills’ framework to help you turn your research experience into employability
  • A critical thinking focus that will help you construct convincing arguments and improve your research decisions 

In combining a critical, philosophical approach with an expertly selected body of practical examples, the Second Edition of Chris Hart's landmark text provides both the intellectual understanding and the technical skills required to produce sophisticated, robust literature reviews of the very highest standard.

SAGE Study Skills are essential study guides for students of all levels. From how to write great essays and succeeding at university, to writing your undergraduate dissertation and doing postgraduate research, SAGE Study Skills help you get the best from your time at university. Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

The research imagination
The purpose of literature reviewing
Classifying and reading research to review
Different types of literature review
Argumentation analysis
Evidence, evaluation and critical realism
Understanding and analysing the ways ideas are organised
Mapping and analysing ideas
Writing the review


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"The literature review is no longer a brief preliminary to the real business of doing social research. There is no topic which has not been studied previously in some form and by some means. Research synthesis and secondary analysis have moved to the core of social inquiry. Hart’s text provides clear and authoritative guidance on how to anchor a study."

Raymond Pawson
University of Leeds

"Chris Hart has yet again written a brilliant ‘hands-on’ book offering a unique approach to combining theory, concepts and practical applications that push the reader’s critical and creative thought boundaries to reach new scholarly heights. No matter your discipline, this is a must-have book."

Adela McMurray
RMIT University

In the latter half of this 2nd edition, there is an introduction of techniques such as Rapid Evidence Assessment. In healthcare, in particular, the reader/researcher may use this technique to evaluate the application of policy into clinical practice.
This edition is a brilliant contribution to the researcher's toolkit. The author takes great care to build up the reader's understanding of literature review by providing easy to follow steps in the early chapters.

Brian Smith
Journal of Perioperative Practice
Association of Perioperative Practice

Hart has produced a resource that emphasises literature review as an ongoing multifaceted process rather than an end unto itself

Russell Turk
Nottingham Trent University
The Cognitive Psychology Bulletin, Spring 2019

It doesn’t take long to find out that this publication has had influence in the social sciences judging by its 3,157 citations according to Google scholar. I originally decided to read this book whilst planning to conduct a review on the subject of wellbeing. And more recently I found it useful when I wanted to design a list of criteria to judge the quality of a rapid review.?
I would also highly recommend it to those academically trained professionals who are looking for inspiration on how to synthesize literature differently and build an argument.

Dr Asimina Vergou,
Evaluation Manager, Heritage Lottery Fund
SRA Research Matters

The book is clear and concise. It makes the literature review easier to approach for the students.

Professor Kimberly Lenease King-Jupiter
ISP-Leadership, Alabama State University
December 15, 2022

A good overall input on how to do a literature review, which is essential for all thesis students

Dr Jahangir Wasim
Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University
September 30, 2019

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