Writing the Scientific Literature: A Reliable Guide

Writing the Scientific Literature: A Reliable Guide

A comprehensive guide with examples from PhD dissertation and published survey articles

A literature review is very essential to develop a powerful research idea. It helps to identify research gaps and consolidate what has been done and what we need to do. Literature is needed to support the study and research gaps. Furthermore, well written and organized literature helps the authors to produce high-level content.

This guide covers the following

This tutorial tries to answer the following questions;

1. How do we plan the literature review?
2. How do we review the literature?
3. How do we organize the literature review?
4. And particularly, how to write and represent the literature review?

I use the chapter on literature from my doctoral thesis and the survey paper produced from this chapter. I have written three research survey articles and all are published in good impact factor research journals. I hope after following this tutorial, you will be able to write a good literature review. Secondly, you will be able to convert the literature chapter into a good research survey paper.

Methodology of literature

The term “methodology” refers to how to collect and present the literature. The following questions deal with the methodology;

  1. How will the literature review be carried out?
  2. How will it be planned?
  3. What will be included in the literature and what will be excluded?
  4. The duration of the research (for example in this case I have collected the literature from 2012 to 2020).
  5. How the literature will be reported?

We clearly outline how the literature will be collected in this section. In my instance, I looked at the literature from 2012 through 2020 to gain a more thorough picture of cloud computing.

Planning the review

Throughout the review’s development, the relevance and necessity of the study that sets it apart from other related studies are taken into account. How will this study be superior to the connected studies?

  1. What are the main topics on which we are going to do the research?
  2. What are the expected outcomes for which this study is going on?
  3. And for these expected outcomes what will be the methodology? What are the techniques which will be used to get these outcomes?

Furthermore, we create a study protocol that outlines the criteria for inclusion and exclusion. We search the literature using these parameters. We begin the review, which is completed in phases, after defining the inclusion and exclusion criteria and a comprehensive process.

The population, methodology, and outcome are the three most critical elements of a literature search. These are crucial considerations before beginning to work on the literature.

  1. So, what is the definition of the population? It is, in fact, the primary issue on which we will focus. If I work in cloud computing, for example, cloud computing is my population.
  2. The outcome is the second point to consider. What does it imply when we say “outcome”? What will the end result be? In my thesis, for example, I want to enhance provider revenue. As a result, my goal is to maximise provider income.
  3. The third question is about the approach. What techniques will we utilise to attain our goals? This is the scalability of resources in my situation.

When performing your study, you should be aware of and discuss the following with your supervisor:

1. What is your target population/main topic?
2. What are the goals that you’re aiming for?
3. What is your approach to problem-solving?

Begin gathering powerful keywords when you’ve done all of these procedures. For example, my population is referred to as ‘cloud computing’. Because cloud computing is now also known as mobile computing and edge computing, I’ll look for a synonym for the term. My objective, too, is to maximise revenue. Then there are equivalents for any other phrases used for revenue maximisation, such as revenue optimization and so on. To put it another way, you must determine your keywords, which will be derived from the population, methodology, and outcome.

Keywords and their synonyms

The population in my case is cloud computing, as you can see from the table. I’ve used the terms “mobile computing” and “edge computing” interchangeably. The methods we employ to achieve our goals are referred to as methodology. In my situation, resources, price, SLAs, and penalties are all interchangeable terms. There are a variety of approaches that providers can use to boost their earnings. Finally, I want to maximize the provider’s revenue. As a result, profit maximization and provider revenue optimization are frequently used interchangeably.

Search String

The search string is formed after the keywords are finalised. All of the terms in the search string are concatenated using the ‘AND’ operator. If there are any synonyms, such as mobile and edge computing, they are concatenated with the ‘OR’ symbol. See in the figure above.

Typing any word, such as “cloud provider revenue maximisation in cloud computing,” will result in millions of pages. And among the millions of results, you won’t be able to discover any articles with a comparably high impact factor. It’s almost guaranteed that if you utilise the right search phrases, you’ll get a high-quality relevant paper that will help you.

Quality assessment of the searched article

When the relevant papers have been found, the quality evaluation is carried out. Quality assessment is an important part of the literature planning process. On Google Scholar or any other online library, you can find thousands of research articles. The literature does not include any of these articles. So, how can we assess the articles’ quality?

Search engines display the title of the publication first. As a consequence, the article’s title is evaluated first in terms of its relevance to our study question. Second, the abstract is open to the public. After that, we check the abstract to determine if the title is correct. We proceed to read the article if the abstract matches. The paper is selected if they match.

Inclusion criteria

Finally, admissions criteria are developed. About 200 or 300 papers are initially selected based on their title and abstract. Then you select the publications that are relevant to your methods. For example, in my case, I’m determining whether it covers the approaches I’ll be using in my work. In the same way, you’d look for a paper that covers your methods.

Because mobile and edge computing are concepts that are connected, I chose articles that explore both terms as well as revenue maximisation. Then I chose articles that were similar in nature and presented the approach and outcomes in an appropriate manner. There are usually too many articles that are not properly arranged, and their results are not organised in the same way. It appears to be a fake, so I double-checked that as well.

  1. Are the findings well-organized?
  2. Is the simulation accurate?
  3. Is it prototyped properly?
  4. And completing the aforementioned standards as well as two citations every year?

If the papers answer ‘yes’ to the aforementioned questions, they are chosen.

The research publications that explore cloud computing and revenue maximisation independently were excluded from the exclusion criteria. If one article discusses cloud computing and the other discusses revenue maximisation but not on the cloud, the two papers are of distinct types. Because these are two distinct groups, I did not choose publications that were similar. The results and techniques employed for the targeted goals are not appropriately presented in the research report. The publications that do not provide the results and methods in a systematic manner are not included in the list.

Reporting the literature review

The next main step is to report the review. How to report the review is the most important and critical. Reporting means — writing the literature chapter, any survey paper, including this literature in any other research paper or presenting it somewhere. All this relate to literature reporting.

How to write and present a literature review is the most important and significant part. I normally find it difficult to write and organise a literature review since you either agree or disagree with the author. The second thing you need to know is how to maintain consistency between various authors and concepts. It’s difficult to synthesise, analyse, and organise 200 different thoughts in a few pages and in a single flow. It takes experience and abilities, both of which can be learned quite easily if someone is willing to put up the work.

How to report the literature?

When reporting, the literature is structured like a funnel. The phrase “funnel” refers to how the core topics are discussed first, followed by subtopic specialisation. Finally, only ideas that are directly related to your subject are presented.

You begin with the major issue and work towards your own conclusion. This works like a funnel: you start with the broad topic, then go on to the subtopics, and finally to the topics that are closely linked to your paper.

Categorizing the literature

The categorising of literature makes it simpler to read and comprehend. In my situation, I divided the literature into seven categories, as shown in the table below: the performance of the services, Service Level Agreement (SLA) and penalties management, resources scalability, resources utilization and scheduling, customers’ satisfaction, cost, and pricing management, as well as advertisement and auction.

Categorization of literature

I’ve divided the literature into several categories based on the paper’s subject, but what else can you do while composing literature? You can categorise the literature into many groups. The most well-known are:

  1. Chronological means that literature is organised according to the date; for example, you start from 2012 and go towards 2021. You can do the opposite, writing from 2021 to 2012. All this depends on the situation.
  2. The second issue which I have utilized is that I categorized all my literature according to the theme. My topic is how to maximize the cloud provider revenue? Revenue maximization can be in different themes. So, the literature can be organized into these themes.

The order in which the literature is structured is entirely dependent on the context; nonetheless, it is frequently ordered chronologically or thematically.

Yearwise categorization of literature

I’ve divided the literature into seven major categories. As you can see, I’ve built a single table and structured the data in a tabular format to make it easier to grasp. If you’re writing a survey paper or a literary chapter, I recommend that you make this table. This will make it evident, what kind of papers you’ve chosen and how big your window is. and where did you get the papers from?

Here, I have given different types of categories and the papers selected from these categories in these years. For example from the performance management total of 11 papers have been selected. In these 11 papers, zero was selected from 2012 and one paper from 2020. So, this is a good sketch that will give a clear cut view to the reader that what types of papers have been selected.

My first area is performance management, and the first thing you do there is to write a stunning overview. As you can see, I’ve written an overview that emphasises the importance of high-performance services in the cloud computing industry. Its significance is undeniable. Low-quality services will provide no benefits. Customers are turned off by such concerns, rather than being attracted by them. As a result, I’ve addressed the significance of performance management in maximising income. You must provide an overview of anything, any topic, and any subtopic that you are going to explore.

Literature evaluation criteria

I use seven different categories, so I have seven different tables. In these tables, I used the sample. The sample is used for the criteria. The second is the criterion that I have selected.

As a result, I’ve established the criterion for selecting books. If I discuss performance management in this literature, what does performance management mean? In the same way, if I talk about SLA penalties management, what is the major purpose of SLA and penalties management? You must categorise the literature if you employ any criteria. Any sample must be used, and these samples must be explicitly defined.

Starting literature

So, let’s get started with how to begin a literature review. You must provide an overview of the literature when writing the literature review chapter. Never go straight to the literature without first preparing the reader. Consider the following example;

Starting the chapter with an overview

As can be seen in the figure above, we prepared the literature review summary to help the reader to connect with the review. To get them ready for what we’re about to do in this chapter, or what we’ve already done.

Agreeing and disagreeing with authors

When writing a paper review, you have two options: agree with the author or disagree with the author. These are the two primary points, and you must be able to agree and disagree with each other. You must study and practise how to disagree in particular.
If you agree and any other author agrees with you, you can write

“Similarly, author b points to” or “Similarly, author d also makes this point.”

This indicates that the author is in agreement

You agree or disagree, always start with the positive points of the study.

Secondly, I have written that what are the main challenges? What are the main problems? And what are the main gaps? After that, I suggested what I have to do?

However, there is a complex correlation between performance and revenue which is missing in the literature. This is the literature gap that I have pointed out here however there is a complex correlation that is not explained and not investigated.

All these theories need throughout examination and investigation are, so you have to clearly analyze and synthesize that;

  1. what are the positive points in the literature?
  2. What are the negative points?
  3. What are the challenges?
  4. What are the gaps?
  5. And after that, you have to go toward your idea, of how to fill these gaps.

Reporting verbs

Everyone should be aware of one key point: reporting verbs. The importance of reporting verbs cannot be overstated because they are used to report the literature. There are several terms, some of which I mentioned in the first sections;

  1. How can we connect the paragraphs?
  2. How do we connect the header line to the rest of the paragraph?
  3. And how can we link the paragraphs together?

There are many terms, but I will just address the most significant ones here.

Connecting words

As a researcher, you must be familiar with reporting terms and how to use them in a literature review. These words tie the content together and beautify it.

Tabular presentation of literature

Usually, we represent literature in a table and the figure above shows the same. The first column discussed articles and authors, the second column discussed major contributions, and the third discussed limitations. I will suggest while starting literature, you need to create an excel file. And in this excel file create a number of columns, for example, here I created two or three. You need to create, for example, the articles, the methodology used, the main contributions, the limitations, the year of research conducted, the simulation used, the methodology, the results and the results, etc.

If literature data is organized in such a file, it can easily be used in future research projects and articles. It will help you in data collection, writing the literature chapter, literature presentation or writing any other research papers. In literature, for the limits, you have to give evidence and citation to prove it.

Author dominant and information dominant citation

Author dominant means that we start the author’s names and support what they as done.

Authors dominant presentation of literature

The example above shows how the literature is started with authors’ names.

Secondly, in information dominance, the focus is given to the information, particularly what has been proposed.

Information dominant presentation of literature

The example above shows the information dominant presentation of literature.

Read more about scientific writing

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