Literature reviews play an important role in communication research. Importantly, they serve as an extended rationale or justification for why a researcher has chosen to pursue a specific research topic. In addition, literature reviews provide the background needed for readers to fully understand and appreciate studies in context. This entry discusses literature reviews in comparison with rationales, the characteristics of literature reviews in communication research, and the steps researchers typically take when developing literature reviews.
A rationale is the argument presented in an article for why a topic is important. In a social scientific article, the rationale is typically the opening argument that is presented within the first few pages of the article. Like a lawyer who ...
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