Find a Subject Specialist
Subject Specialists in your discipline or area of study are available for additional help on literature reviews.
- Last Updated Dec 8, 2014
Provides guidance on how to use choose a citation management program and how-to use various citation management programs.
2,204 views this year
- Last Updated May 6, 2015
The following guide provides answers to common copyright questions.
4,639 views this year
- Last Updated Sep 19, 2014
Tips on how to get your work published in a variety of formats.
721 views this year
- Last Updated May 13, 2015
This guide is designed for those who need information on how to use library resources for citation analysis. This includes information about impact factors, journal rankings, altmetrics and how to find who has cited an article.
38,414 views this year
- Last Updated May 14, 2015
This guide provides information that will help you use Microsoft Word 2010 and 2013 effectively for your dissertation. Topics include: formatting page numbers, using chapter templates, footnotes, images, and figures.
274,372 views this year
- Last Updated Feb 7, 2015
Provides resources and information on how to search for Grey Literature.
1,190 views this year
- Last Updated Apr 27, 2015
This guide provides an overview of strategies for locating primary sources, including archival and manuscript material.
1,028 views this year
- Last Updated Apr 16, 2015
This guide will help those who are looking for tests or measurement instruments in either the health or behavioral sciences. It offers resources, tips and tricks for finding tests.
2,392 views this year
- Last Updated Aug 29, 2014
Strategies and resources for finding data across the social sciences, including opinion surveys.
449 views this year
- Last Updated Mar 20, 2015
A guide to using emailed alerts, table of contents services, and RSS feeds to keep up with what's being written in your area of interest.
375 views this year
- Last Updated Jun 26, 2014
A guide with resources for the Faculty Exploratory workshop on Literature Reviews in the Humanities.
156 views this year
- Last Updated Dec 4, 2014
A guide with resources for the Faculty Exploratory workshop on Literature Reviews in the Social Sciences.
465 views this year
What is a Literature Review?
What is a Literature Review?
A literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, dissertations, conference proceedings and other resources which are relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory and provides context for a dissertation by identifying past research. Research tells a story and the existing literature helps us identify where we are in the story currently. It is up to those writing a dissertation to continue that story with new research and new perspectives but they must first be familiar with the story before they can move forward.
Purpose of a Literature Review
- Identifies gaps in current knowledge
- Helps you to avoid reinventing the wheel by discovering the research already conducted on a topic
- Sets the background on what has been explored on a topic so far
- Increases your breadth of knowledge in your area of research
- Helps you identify seminal works in your area
- Allows you to provide the intellectual context for your work and position your research with other, related research
- Provides you with opposing viewpoints
- Helps you to discover research methods which may be applicable to your work