Reflection on Literature Review

The reflective paper informs about the literature review conducted, including the biases, the expectations, and challenges throughout the process. The literature review paper focused on a form of capital punishment that has been practiced in the United States. Considerably, there have existed debates and critics regarding this form of punishment. The main aim of the literature review was to analyze sources that were based on how death penalty has made men’s core targets.

The research relied on analyzing different kinds of literature that were acquired through online sources, scholarly journals, databases, and books regarding the relevant issues as well as a statistical analysis of major publications and articles. After choosing the research topic, my next step was to look through a few databases that included the death penalty or capital punishment studies only to gather very specific and generally what I was looking for.

The next step was to look for different databases that would offer a broad overview of capital punishment and its aspects (Machi, and McEvoy, 2016). From there, I began looking through the topics and abstracts to find the sources that had relevant aspects that are related to the death penalty and its core target as men. I found many sources and literature that indicated a positive relationship between men is a specific target for the execution and applicability of the death penalty as compared to women. However, other reviews indicated contradicting perspective based on the execution of the death penalty in both women and men.

The concept of the death penalty as a form of punishment has only been made aware in recent years, where most people have been able to learn about this form of oppression. I have been seeking to understand the issue of the death penalty and describe how different authors understand this concept concerning gender discrimination. The main aim of the paper was to research the relationship between the death penalty and the men’s target.

Considerably, the research topic offered a more specific approach in researching relevant articles that relate to the issue. The research topic changed the research process since it restricted the use of all available data to ensure that the research was relevant. Considerably, the research topic begins and drives the entire research process and is crucial in moving the research forward (Hart, 2018). The general concept of the death penalty offered a lot of ideas that were too broad, which would make the literature review unfocused. The literature review needed to be familiar with available information and extract essential information.

However, during the research, various biases influenced the study. Some of the biases include confirmation and issues bias. The issue bias entailed the choice of researchers who will investigate the specific issues over others. Considerably, as there are many issues to select from, there are also different kinds of evidence to select. The evidence and issues that one decides to look at greatly impact the outcome of the result and the kind of knowledge gained. This means that one cannot learn about an issue or things they have asked about. The choice of evidence and topics, use, and interpretation of research results was a subject of issue bias.

Considerably, after the research has been done, the bias choice can be made to prioritize specific parts of the results as compared to others. Another challenging bias was the confirmation bias, where the authors of different articles were interpreting the results or evidence in a way that it will conform to their beliefs. This led to research for evidence that supports their research or their ideas, thus bringing one-sided information on the topic. During the research process, I did have a preconceived notion about the research. This is related to the issues of gender discrimination, which is evident in the court system and ruling. Considerably, the legal system has been seen favoring female offenders as compared to men.

The most surprising thing is that the arguments that are developed in many research papers by both the proponents and opponents of the topic are based on the fact that the death penalty is sexist. They offer aspects of gender discrimination in the death penalty issue. Considerably, most of the literature revolves around the death penalty and men, which leads to the questioning role of gender in the execution of the death penalty. Regarding several authors, it is evident that there is a continuous trend in the execution of the death penalty among offenders. There are aspects of gender biases that are evident in the death penalty cases whereby the gender-based values have influenced the supreme court decisions.

Most importantly, the main challenges that I faced while writing the literature review include lack of enough knowledge to identify important sources and literature and difficulty in sorting out the materials that are related to the topic. Due to the lack of enough knowledge on what is and what is not an appropriate source, it was difficult to identify the original and essential sources. During writing the review, it was difficult to sort information since the topic had many articles which were difficult to sort. This resulted from a lack of effective search capabilities. Writing the literature review was challenging since there was a need to coordinate many ideas and sources logically. Thus, organizing the argument was also a great challenge due to knowledge gaps.

However, writing the literature review worked well since I was able to analyze several major writings as well as other sources for the topic I selected. The literature review offered a description, evaluation, and summary of each source. The literature review offered an overall state and understanding of the literature by surveying the important themes and demonstrating where there are disagreement and agreement on the topic (Hart, 2018). The review created knowledge that enhanced my understanding of the topic. Considerably, understanding the topic is critical to facilitating the success of the research.

The language features and the writing styles are among the resonating things about the research. This is how the authors, in their texts, developed their arguments to support the claims and bring about understanding as well as invoke the readers. The authors relied on analytical features in their works to bring about the complexity of the topic, thus addressing the issue at hand with great expertise. Through inductive and deductive reasoning techniques and the use of evidence, the authors conducted a critical analysis of the research problem and evaluated the evidence offered. Most of the authors compared their findings and presented evidence after assessing both sides of the story.

I learned that critical thinking skills are essential in analyzing the arguments, making both deductive and inductive reasoning, and making informed decisions in research (Machi and McEvoy, 2016). While writing a literature review, one is required to offer a detailed justification of the main argument. There is a need to critically review and synthesize the literature and the analysis to formulate a logical argument. Ideally, critically reviewing the information enables one to identify things such as limitations, assumptions, methodological weakness, bias, gaps, as well as problems and controversies that exist in the literature. For instance, most of the authors relied on both inductive and deductive reasoning. This was supported by both quantitative and qualitative evidence that was collected from the sources on the topic of research. The presentation of judgments, findings, and evidence conveyed a formal way of communicating the credible and formal arguments rather than relying on opinions and emotions.

While reviewing and reading through the sources, I realized that authors employ varying rhetoric appeals as well as strategies that will persuade the audience as well as support their opinions and ideas fully. To convey and communicate the main ideas and arguments, authors have greatly utilized allusion rhetoric techniques, which include a reference of events, people, and places. The persuasion was achieved differently among the authors through logos, ethos, and pathos, which offered reliable and credible content.

Selection bias greatly influenced the research since not all the available data on the topic was analyzed. The inclusion and selection criteria were not described in detail to avoid inconsistent study selection. This led to great ambiguity in the exclusion and inclusion criteria resulting in subjective decisions concerning what to be included. Considerably, the selection bias led to distorted evidence and wrong conclusions. The process of performing the review was influenced by the selection bias, thus portraying a certain outcome based on individual activities. Achieving accuracy and credibility was an issue since selection bias influences the collective and individual values on research findings and conclusions.

The most profound thing I discovered while conducting the literature review is that when searching for articles, the problem is not that one cannot access the articles, but there is even a lot of them to look through. This demands for excessive narrowing to what exactly one is looking for and being very much specific on the key terms. I fell that inclusion and exclusion criteria were essential while carrying out the literature review to ensure relevant sources have been relied on. Critical thinking skills are also essential to organize the argument and effective planning while carrying out the review. I also learned that it is the responsibility of a researcher to detect any potential bias, which has a significant effect on the study outcomes. It is worth mentioning that every study has its confounding limitations and variables. Therefore, there is a need to be aware of all sources of bias and undertake possible actions to minimize and reduce the limitations of the research.


Hart, C. (2018). Doing a literature review: Releasing the research imagination. Sage.

Machi, L. A., & McEvoy, B. T. (2016). The literature review: Six steps to success. Corwin Press.

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