A Literature Review Is Not:
So, what is it then?
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.
Why is it important?
A literature review is important because it:
Look below for additional tips and steps to use as you work towards creating your literature review.
Your literature review should be guided by a central research question. Remember, it is not a collection of loosely related studies in a field but instead represents background and research developments related to a specific research question, interpreted and analyzed by you in a synthesized way.
How many studies do you need to look at? How comprehensive should it be? How many years should it cover?
Tip: This may depend on your assignment. How many sources does the assignment require?
Make a list of the databases you will search. Remember to include comprehensive databases such as WorldCat and Dissertations & Theses, if you need to.
Where to find databases:
Some questions to help you analyze your research: