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Role Of Literature Review in Quantitative Studies Vs Qualitative Studies

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Experimental Research Correlational Study Survey Research Grounded Theory Ethnogra- phy Case Study Narrative Research Mixed Method Action Research
Role of Literature Review acts as a secondary source  Comparison of different studies and how they correlate and identify the gap  Provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works  Literature used as data to be used by the analytic strategies of the research  Developing and refining questions; aid in understanding people or a place. Give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations   reveal problems, weaknesses, contradictions, or controversies in a particular area of study  Combinations of numerical data, findings with the narrative research with an aim to find gaps in previous research and perform both qualitative and quantitative studies. Comparison of prior articles, researches, theories, studies 

Role of Literature Review

Role of Literature Review in Quantitative Studies Vs Qualitative Studies

Often, the aim of the research is to achieve certain objectives. Some studies are usually experimental in nature and are often unique. However, in most cases, the research can be based on previous studies and researches conducted. This is known as a literature review. A literature review is the identification and analysis of documents which contain information that is related to a certain research problem. It is often the written component of a report or a research paper, and it discusses the reviewed documents (Stockburger, 2006). Often researchers may favor qualitative approaches to a research issue while others may favor quantitative approaches. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief overview of literature review and its importance in research. The paper also identifies the type of study where literature review plays a bigger role and explains why that is so.

The primary purpose of a literature review is to find out what has been done previously by other researchers. It also determines data collection strategies, research strategies, for a researcher to benefit from the studies of other researchers among others(Funk, 2009). A good literature review provides a researcher with a clearly identified scope of future studies, tools to be used in these further studies and also points out the methods that may be utilized in the further research.

Literature review plays a significant role in qualitative studies. In this form of studies, the researcher has to use literature that is directly linked to the research and has some meaningful information to the study.  In this type of study, the literature review demonstrated the assumptions in the research questions which are paramount to the research proposal(Funk, 2009). These questions guide the direction of the research and are the queries that the research seeks to answer.

The literature review also guides a novice researcher in such a way that they can convince the proposal reviewers that the researcher is knowledgeable about the research. This allows the researcher to have some confidence in their research and also in themselves (Almazan, 2017). It is important for a researcher to have confidence in themselves and their research.

Furthermore, the literature review gives the researcher a chance to identify gaps which may be existing in the literature body. Every researcher should be able to identify any research gaps that may be existing and in which their research may be able to fill. This is done through the use of literature review. This is, in turn, provides a rationale on how the proposed study may contribute to the existing body of knowledge (Stockburger, 2006). This shows how the literature review is necessary for qualitative research. Finally, literature review usually helps the researcher to improve on their research questions and also use them in the hypothesis thereby giving the researcher a direction to follow during their study.

The review of the literature has different purposes for different types of researchers.  For the quantitative research studies presuppose examination and evaluation of empirical statistical data, facts, and other findings. These findings should be compared with previous work done by other researchers in the same area. Therefore, quantitative research requires and in-depth and thorough exploration of the materials available which are on a similar subject of study and have related information (Stockburger, 2006). For this reason, the literature review should be very detailed and highly organizes. It should also be widely and openly presented for it to be understood.

This approach will provide reviewers and readers enough background information of the previous researchers. This will guarantee clarity in understanding especially when reading the conclusion section which has the findings, the evaluation, the conclusion and the recommendations (Funk, 2009).

Qualitative research is different from quantitative in its nature. This means that the purpose of a literature review is different. For qualitative, the literature review has to demonstrate the assumptions that are expressed in the research questions.

This means that both qualitative and quantitative types of research require different approaches to the development of literature review. Quantitative research often requires previous studies with similar methodology, similar subjects, and similar response variables. This gives researchers who carry out quantitative studies a lot of work in a compilation and search of similar studies. This means that quantitative research must have a quality and a thorough literature review which is based on something which allows the researchers to conclude on something definite and have clear recommendations for future and further studies (Wallin, 2006). The findings and conclusions of the quantitative studies should be accurate and profound enough to allow good recommendations. This means that the importance of literature review is very substantial.

Qualitative studies, on the other hand, do not require serious background study compared to the quantitative study. This does not mean that the literature review is not important or necessary. However, compared to the quantitative studies, the literature review in the qualitative studies is less important and should not be as exhaustive and thorough as the literature review in the quantitative study. Therefore, the literature review should be limited but may not be as exhaustive while the literature for quantitative research should be extensive as it may significantly influence a particular study.


Almazan, E. P. (Academic). (2017). An introduction to descriptive & inferential statistics [Video]. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Funk, T. (2009). Identification of academic and social expectation anxieties and self-efficacy issues experienced by non-traditional students and examination of their effects on academic success. Ph.D. dissertation. TUI University, CA. August 22, 2013 Retrieved from ProQuestJohnson, R. B., & Christensen, L. (n/s). Problem Identification and Hypothesis Formation. University of South Alabama. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from http://www.southalabama.edu/coe/bset/johnson/lectures/lec3.htm

Stockburger, D. W. (2006). Statistics. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from Missouri State University website: http://www.psychstat.missouristate.edu/introbook/sbk13.htm

Wallin, A. M. (2006). Cross-cultural interview studies using interpreters: systematic literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 55(6), pp723-735. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03963.x. Retrieved July 2012 from EBSCO.


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