Similar to my earlier points about methodological detail, what – and how much – literature to cite is tricky. Criticisms of both excessive and deficient referencing are common in the review process. Although you can never be certain how much literature to cite, you should give the matter careful thought, making sure
you include and accurately report all the most relevant work (particularly the most recent) and omit what you regard as tangential.
The reviewers may disagree with your decision, but this is not likely to result in failure unless your omissions have seriously compromised the rationale for the work, your methodology, or your conclusions. Provided your work constitutes a clear incremental contribution, this feedback will be constructive and helpful in
strengthening your ultimate product. Authors tend to assume a defensive posture in citing the literature.
If you decide an article or chapter is worth citing, be sure to make its relevance to your “story” explicit and represent its substance accurately. In an effort to be all-inclusive, some authors give short shrift to what the cited author actually says, which reviewers might perceive as padding the reference list. That raises
doubts about the author’s grasp of the literature and the credibility of other facets of his or her report. One final point about citation relates to my earlier comment about expanding topic coverage. If your work is somewhat beyond the mainstream of topics published in Human Factors, the literature review format provides an excellent opportunity for you to build your case for relevance. Similarly, if you are inexperienced in the HF/E domain, a good place to start is by perusing the reference lists of review articles and regular articles published in areas related to your work.