After reading several literature reviews, I noticed how quick to the point authors were when they mentioned a study. By that I mean they only discussed the results found within that study and didn't spend time going over how the study was conducted, where the data was obtained, etc.

Back to my own literature review, I decided to edit it based on the aforementioned pattern I noticed. My question is which example is more fitting for a literature review. I'm guessing the second one is more appropriate.

Ex. 1 "In addition to Ruist, and Alden and Hammarstedt, Storesletten (2000) further suggest that migrants impose a substantial fiscal burden. Storesletten uses an overlapping generations model, parallel to Alden and Hammarstedt’s framework, to measure the fiscal impact for Sweden. This method allows for a dynamic approach, accounting for changes in government revenues and expenditures. Storesletten makes use of a large sample size containing 52,000 natives and 6,000 immigrants aged 16-64 for the years 1990-1995, thus ensuring replication is possible. Although the analysis suggests young migrants who are 20-30 years old at the time of acceptance into asylum offer large potential gains over the course of a lifetime: more than SEK 200,000 (19,428€) per individual, migrants older than 50 and younger than 10 drastically diminished the possibility for potential gains or just breaking even. With substantial net costs for migrants of these age groups, averaging about SEK 1.1 million (106,857€) per migrant, the net government loss per new immigrant is SEK 175,000 (17,000€)."

Ex. 2 "The economic impact of migration has been extensively studied in Sweden. Storesletten (2003), using a dynamic model, estimates that the average immigrant in Sweden represents a net burden of 175,000 SEK (USD 20,500) for the public sector, although contributions varied significantly across different cohorts. Young immigrants produced a net gain of 200,000 SEK (USD 22,200), whereas immigrants older than 50 and younger than 10 drew in substantial net costs. These findings are attributable to the fact that the pension system, healthcare, and schooling are costly programs."

1 Answer 1


The answer is that there is no universal answer to this question.

The first key is to have a clearly defined objective to your literature review. In some cases, you might not be interested in the methods used. In other cases, you might be.

Second, your references need to support the point you're making. Again, the level of details will vary.

Reporting every little details of the reference is less frequent, because you're synthesizing literature, not rewriting a mashup of everything you found.

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