A literature review is a systematic survey of the scholarly literature published on a given topic. It forms the framework for your research project by providing comprehensive and up-to-date overview of previous research. Rather than being exhaustive, a literature review should cover past research that is most pertinent to your topic. Reviewing the literature will also help you identify gaps in current research where you can contribute new knowledge.
What is a Literature Review? Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand
A literature review should include:
Questions to address: What are the common themes of the reviewed literature? How did you develop these themes? Did you compare and contrast themes? How did the themes fit together? Which studies didn't fit into your argument or address your research? Are there gaps in the literature? Are your themes organized so they relate to each other and follow a logical order? Do the organized themes address your research question? How does your research address any gaps in previous research or literature?
Writing a Literature Review Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand
Literature Reviews Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Some good places to start in planning your research and finding appropriate sources:
The kinds of sources included in your literature review will vary depending on the field of study and your research topic, but they may include:
Scholarly Journal Articles
Use journal databases found in the relevant A-Z Database List. If possible, find review articles that give detailed coverage and extensive bibliographies on your topic. Don't forget to check for databases in all subject areas that apply to your topic.
Print books have call numbers. The title links to the Online Catalog record so you can see if the book is currently available and not checked out. Ebooks do not have call numbers. The title links directly to the ebook.
Social Sciences and Humanities
Sciences and Engineering