Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings, reports) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory. Literature reviews provide a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of and background on significant literature published on a topic, as well as your own critical thinking on how these works comprise this background, and what questions remain unaddressed by the existing literature.
2. Definition and Use/Purpose
A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject. In either case, its purpose is to:
The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary scholarship.
Literature reviews should comprise the following elements:
Information adapted from the UC Santa Cruz University Library