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When researching your topic, the literature may not cover your topic in its entirety there may be some pieces missing that don't discuss part of what you want to review. This is called a gap in the literature. The gap shows missing pieces in your topic that have not been explored or have been under-explored.
When this occurs
When completing a literature review on your narrow topic there may be differences in the literature.
For example: A book says stress levels increase when exposed to mindfulness training, but this article says stress levels stay the same with mindfulness training.
When two or more sources conflict with each other it poses a unique issue and potential for the writer.
Tips to handle these issues:
If one or several inconsistencies have been found in the literature review, use it to strengthen your review.
After reading a literature review the audience should have a good idea of
By incorporating the inconsistencies or contrasting information on a topic the writer can present new questions for the topic field, provide direction for future research, and showcase the strengths and weaknesses of each argument in the literature.
Many students struggle with synthesizing information for a literature review. These tutorials may help.