Improving Your Argument By Identifying A Literature Gap

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Timothy F. Slater


Discipline-Based Education Research; Publishing; Literature Review


More often than not, a peer-reviewed journal article’s literature review is a boring to read as it is to write.  However, literature reviews do not need to be laborious for all involved.  Instead, the best literature reviews offer a crisp view of a researcher’s landscape and succinctly provides a compelling case for critical research that needs to be done in order to move the field forward.  In order to provide readers with a useful literature review, it is critical that authors avoid providing paragraph after paragraph describing a summative chronology of the topic in the literature, but instead provide a critical synthesis of what is known, and what is not known about a topic. In the end, if the reader is convinced of what will be known and advanced as a result of a researcher undertaking the considerable time and effort to conduct and publish a given study, the reader is much more likely to cite your paper downstream in their own work.


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