Does your assignment or publication require that you write a literature review? This guide is intended to help you understand what a literature is, why it is worth doing, and some quick tips composing one.
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What is a literature review?
Typically, a literature review is a written discussion that examines publications about a particular subject area or topic.
A Literature Review provides an overview of selected sources on a topic.
Depending on disciplines, publications, or authors a literature review may be:
a summary of sources
an organized presentation of sources
a synthesis or interpretation of sources
an evaluative analysis of sources
A Literature Review may be part of a process or a product.
It may be:
a part of your research process
a part of your final research publication
an independent publication
Why do a literature review?
The Literature Review will place your research in context.
It will help you and your readers:
Locate patterns, relationships, connections, agreements, disagreements, & gaps in understanding
Identify methodological and theoretical foundations
Identify landmark and exemplary works
Situate your voice in a broader conversation with other writers, thinkers, and scholars
The Literature Review will aid your research process.
It will help you to:
establish your knowledge
understand what has been said
define your questions
establish a relevant methodology
refine your voice
situate your voice in the conversation
What does a literature review look like?
The Literature Review structure and organization.
an introduction or overview
a body or organizational sub-divisions
a conclusion or an explanation of significance
The body of a literature review may be organized:
chronologically: organized by date of publication
methodologically: organized by type of research method used
thematically: organized by concept, trend, or theme
ideologically: organized by belief, ideology, or school of thought
Mountains by Alice Noir from the Noun Project