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Writing a Literature Review: Home

A guide to organizing and writing a review of the literature.

Initial Tips

A review of the literature:

• Focuses on a specific topic – your argument or problem as stated in your thesis.
• Compiles the research that has been published on the topic by recognized scholars and researchers.
• Provides background for the problem or puts the problem into historical perspective.
• Informs the reader about the current concepts and state of research on the topic and any controversies.
• Describes the pros and cons of particular studies and may suggest areas for further research.
• Organizes the citations thematically into a narrative that can serve as the introduction to your report or that can be an individual essay.

A review of the literature is NOT:

• A literary review describing and evaluating a specific book, poem, play, etc.
• An exhaustive, alphabetical list of every work consulted in your research, nor a list of references cited.
• An annotated bibliography listing references and adding brief notes about the value of each source.

Tutorials

Examples

The Finding Reviews of the Literature page has tips on finding them in the library databases.

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