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Definition of Literature Review
A literature review is a discussion of published works on a particular topic. The goal of a literature review is to provide an overview of what has already been written and to synthesize information in order to explain the state of knowledge on an issue.
Literature reviews can be stand-alone papers or a section of a larger paper.
- When a literature review is written as a stand-alone paper, it is generally designed to resolve conflicts, spur further research, or prevent duplication of effort.
- When a literature review is written as a portion of a larger paper, it is designed to establish the context of the research question and demonstrate how the research is a unique contribution to knowledge in the field.
How to Conduct a Literature Review
This is quite possibly the most perfect HOW-TO article ever written about literature reviews.
If you are patient, really read it, and follow the process it outlines, you will understand and be able to create your own lit review. It will blow your mind. It blew my mind.
Sample literature review -- student paper from Bedford/St. Martins
Goals for Today's Class
- Search for three relevant articles
- For each article
- Record citation
- State article purpose
- State which of your question(s) it answers