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What is a literature review?
The Literature Review is a critical look at the existing research that is significant to the work that you are carrying out. It is NOT a summary of all the sources you consulted. It is NOT recording a list of consulted work or to show off how many sources you did consult! The Literature Review is a critical and careful examination of past studies and theories. The Literature Review must evaluate the work, show the relationships between different works, and show how it relates to your work.
Writing a literature review - follow these steps!
- Decide on a topic / thesis.
- Find articles on that topic.
- Write a paragraph for each article summarizing and reviewing the content. Be sure to include research methods, author credentials and possible bias. Click here to review evaluation criteria and get some tips for writing these paragraphs.
- Decide on the organization for the literature review – you can use the paragraphs you wrote for each article, but paragraphs of the literature review should follow one of the following structures - chronological, thematic or methodological. For more information on organizing a literature review, click here.
- Add introductory and concluding sentences to paragraphs, and any transitional sentences to help the flow of the paper.
- Write an introductory paragraph and a concluding paragraph. The introduction should begin broad and narrow down to your thesis statement while the conclusion should begin with your thesis statement, discuss research methods and offer insight into where further research is needed.
Click here for a helpful guide with more details on how to write a literature review.
Click below for an example of a literature review:
The Literature Review Cycle