In essence, a literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It illuminates how knowledge has evolved within the field, highlighting what has already been done, what is generally accepted, what is emerging and what is the current state of thinking on the topic. In addition, within research-based texts such as a Doctoral thesis, a literature review identifies a research gap i. However, your literature review does not need to be inclusive of every article and book that has been written on your topic because that will be too broad. Rather, it should include the key sources related to the main debates, trends and gaps in your research area.
The stand-alone literature review
Do You Know The Literature Review Format? Here Are the Steps
A literature review is an integrated analysis-- not just a summary-- of scholarly writings that are related directly to your research question. That is, it represents the literature that provides background information on your topic and shows a correspondence between those writings and your research question. A literature review may be a stand alone work or the introduction to a larger research paper, depending on the assignment. Rely heavily on the guidelines your instructor has given you. Your opinion counts! Please give us feedback.
Writing A Literature Review: General Guidelines
Learning Skills:. Writing Your Dissertation or Thesis eBook. Subscribe to our FREE newsletter and start improving your life in just 5 minutes a day. A literature review demonstrates that you have read around your topic and have a broad understanding of previous research, including its limitations. In the literature review, you summarise the main viewpoints and important facts that you encountered in your reading as they relate to your chosen topic.
Before getting started on sourcing and reviewing the background literature for a research project, it is important to understand the role that a literature review plays in the research process, and how it can be helpful later on for placing your own findings in context. Knowing the job that a literature review does means you can be more targeted and systematic in your literature searching. The guidance on this page will explain what you need to know about the purpose of a literature review and how to begin scoping your search. New discoveries don't materialise out of nowhere; they build upon the findings of previous experiments and investigations. A literature review shows how the investigation you are conducting fits with what has gone before and puts it into context.