An incredible amount of academic literature is published each year, by estimates over two million articles.
Sorting through and reviewing that literature can be complicated, so this Research Guide provides a structured approach to make the process more manageable.
A literature search is a systematic search of the scholarly sources in a particular discipline. A literature review is the analysis, critical evaluation and synthesis of the results of that search. During this process you will move from a review of the literature to a review for your research. Your synthesis of the literature is your unique contribution to research.
— those new to reviewing the literature
— those that need a refresher or a deeper understanding of writing literature reviews
You may need to do a literature review as a part of a course assignment, a capstone project, a master's thesis, a dissertation, or as part of a journal article. No matter the context, a literature review is an essential part of the research process.
A literature review is typically performed for a specific reason. Even when assigned as an assignment, the goal of the literature review will be one or more of the following:
Reviewing the literature helps you understand a research topic and develop your own perspective.