In order to start off with a research work, it is needed to cite the related works done by the previous researchers in different contexts, and following the same theoretical foundation. Unless that part is done, it is always hard for a researcher to place his / her work in the existing body of literature, as well as demonstrate the significant contributions of the study either theoretically or empirically. Therefore, it is always advisable to carry out a thorough review of literature before starting off with the research work.
Of course, the obvious question comes regarding the starting point of a literature review, as there is no hard and fast rule regarding the starting point of it. Researcher should segregate the entire study into several parts like theoretical foundation, context, methodology, and findings, and then should start locating the literature. In doing so, based on the scope of the study, relevant research journals must be located, where the relevant research works can be found out. Once a relevant article is located, then the researcher should go though the works cited by that particular study, and locate those papers or articles. Then works cited by those articles, and so on. This process is more like creating a number of branches starting with a single node. Once those relevant articles are located, they should be arranged either in chronological or thematic manner, so that the flow of works in that particular context can be depicted in a systematic way. Once those works are systematically arranged, their contexts, methodologies, and results are needed to be arranged accordingly, and that is the process, from which a visible research gap comes up. This process is called Meta-analysis. Once the gap is established, it is possible for the researcher to place own work. For more information about components of a quality literature review, kindly browse through the pages of www.phdbox.edu.in.