Writing Literature Reviews for Transportation Research Projects

Despite its importance, the literature review is a relatively poorly understood component of research, and many authors in a number of fields have lamented the poor quality of literature reviews submitted for publication. Research agencies, professors and others with research administration responsibilities often expect that researchers understand the importance and expectations for a literature review when, in fact, there is often little focus on it or dialogue about its intended contribution in a given research project. This document, drawing from the literature surrounding the topic, aims to summarize the characteristics of effective literature reviews and approaches for writing them. The intended audience is principal investigators and their teams who conduct research for transportation agencies and who are expected to deliver a literature review as part of each research project. The literature search or preparatory work of identifying and collecting the appropriate writings to be analyzed in the review (such as books, peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, sponsored research and online information) is treated in a separate document. The contents of this report are presented in the following sections: (I) Definition and Purpose of a Literature Review; (II) Types of Literature Reviews; (III) Writing a Literature Review; (Appendix A) Examples of Effective Transportation Literature Reviews; (Appendix B) Tutorials on Writing Literature Reviews; (Appendix C) Annotated Bibliography; (Appendix D) Draft Specification Language; and References.


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  • Accession Number: 01600662
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: May 25 2016 12:32PM