Introducing research in law and beyond
Introducing research in law and beyond

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Introducing research in law and beyond

3 Literature review and referencing

When thinking about any risks associated with your research you may realise that it is difficult to predict your research needs and the accompanying risks as you were not sure what information would be required; this is why a literature review is necessary. A thorough literature review will help identify gaps in existing knowledge where research is needed; filling those gaps is one of the prime functions of research. The literature review will indicate what is known about your chosen area of research and show where further contribution from further research can be made.

Undertaking a literature review is probably one of the most difficult stages of the research process but it can be both exciting and fulfilling. This section aims to put the literature review into context and to explain what it does and how to do it.

The literature on a particular legal topic is of fundamental importance to the international community of researchers and scholars working within particular academic disciplines. Academic publishing supports research by enabling researchers to tell the world what they have discovered and allows others researching in the same area to peer review their work; in this way a combined body of knowledge is established.

During your research, you will use the literature to:

  • develop your knowledge of your chosen topic and the research process in general terms
  • ensure that you have an understanding of the current state of academic knowledge within your chosen topic
  • identify the gaps in knowledge that your research will address
  • ensure that your research question will not become too broad or narrow.
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