A literature review is a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the principal research about the topic being studied. Your literature review should contain the following information:
The review helps form the intellectual framework for the study.
At its core, a literature provides a summary of existing knowledge on a subject or topic and identifies areas where research is lacking: missing information, incomplete studies or studies that draw conflicting conclusions, or perhaps even outdated methods of research.
This can be especially helpful if you intend to conduct research of your own on this topic; by explaining where the previous studies have fallen short or leave openings for further examination, you provide a strong foundation and justification for the research project you intend to embark on.
Literature reviews can stand on their own as an article or assignment for a class, or they can serve as an introduction to a larger work, such as an article describing a study or even a book. They can also vary in granularity: a literature review in the beginning of an article might only summarize the largest or most influential studies, while an academic literature review will not only describe the research so far but look for common themes, analyze the quality of the research, and explain gaps where further research is needed.
When preparing your literature review, keep these questions in mind:
For each individual source, be prepared to analyze:
When preparing your literature review, examine these elements and determine which ones would be best for your paper. (Tip: If you're not sure which parts of the literature review to include, ask your professor!)