What is a Literature Review?
A literature review is both a summary and an explanation of the complete and current state of knowledge on a narrowed topic as found in academic books and journal articles.
What are the Purposes of a Literature Review?
- situate your work in its discipline/area/subfield
- develop an understanding of how knowledge in your discipline/field/area has changed over time
- develop mastery of what's known in your area, and part of the larger discipline that contains it
- compare different conceptual or sub-disciplinary approaches to your topic
- compare and contrast different theoretical schools or leading researchers in your area
- identify methodologies that you might use in your work
Types of Literature Reviews
Keep Track of your searches
Search for pre-existing literature reviews
Some databases include "literature review" as one of the limit options you can set before or after doing your search: your search will retrieve only literature reviews. PsycInfo allows for this under Advanced Search.
However in most databases, you will have to add a term for "literature review" to your search. Other search terms that may be helpful:
- review article
- systematic review
- critical review
- meta-analysis, meta analysis
- re-analysis of data
Guides to literature reviews
- The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It - University of Toronto
- Conducting a Literature Review - Georgetown University Medical Centre
- Literature Review - Deakin University Library
- Learn to Write a Review of Literature - University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Guidelines for Writing a Literature Review - University of Minnesota, Duluth
- Get Lit: The Literature Review - Texas A&M University Writing Center
- Literature Reviews: Common Errors Made When Conducting a Literature Review - Walden's Center for Research Quality