Liberty University Online Writing Center
A review of literature is a critical analysis of a portion of the published body of knowledge available through the use of summary, classification, and comparison of previous research studies, reviews of literature, and journal articles (Subject Guides, n.d.). This handout discusses the reasons for writing a literature review and presents its various requirements. It examines what a literature review is, as well as what it is not; it distinguishes between the literature review and the annotated bibliography. Like many academic writing assignments, there is not one universal standard for writing a literature review. Its format can differ from discipline to discipline and from assignment to assignment. There is, however, an overall structure that is commonly used across various disciplines, and this format is examined in more detail. The handout concludes with some helpful “tips and tricks” for preparing a literature review.
Disclaimer: The content of a literature review may vary from discipline to discipline and from assignment to assignment. The literature review content recommended in this handout is that which is most commonly included. If in doubt about what you should include in your literature review, please consult your professor.
Literature Review Handout
Defining a Literature Review
What is a literature review? A literature review examines the current scholarly work available on a particular subject, perhaps within a given time period (“Writing Center Handouts,” n.d.). It is not merely a summation of the existing work; its purpose is to analyze critically the applicable “published body of knowledge” (“The Writer’s Handbook,” n.d.) in order to establish the current knowledge of that topic (“Subject Guides,” n.d.). The literature review is more than a survey of various sources, but it is not a book review (“Subject Guides,” n.d.). It is
References: “Annotated Bibliography & Literature Review.” http://acdrupal.evergreen.edu/tsps/node/66 accessed July 15, 2011. “Difference Between Annotated Bibliography and Literature Review.” http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-annotatedbibliography-and-literature-review/ accessed July 15, 2011. Lausch, Shannon. (2011). “Annotated Bibliographies and Literature Reviews.” http://associatedcontent.com/shared/print.shtml?content_type... “Literature Review.” http://data.fen-om.com/int460/0-literature-review.pdf accessed July 1, 2011. “Literature Review Tutorial.” http://www.library.american.edu/Help/tutorials/lit_reviews/is_not.html accessed July 15, 2011. Plummer, Brenda Gayle (n.d.). The Changing Face of Diplomatic History: A Literature Review. Retrieved from http://www.historycooperative.org/cgibin/printpage.cgi . Reece, Gwendolyn (2002). Critical Thinking and Transferability: AReview of the Literature. Retrieved from www.library.american.edu/Help/tutorials/lit_review/critical_thinking.pdf “Researching and Writing Literature Reviews.” http://www.library.arizona.edu/help/tutorials/litreviews/whatis.html accessed July 15, 2011. 11 | P a g e “Sample Literature Review.” http://www.cgu.edu/pages/931.asp accessed July 1, 2011. Spiller, Laura. “Writing a Psychology Literature Review.” University of Washington, Psychology Writing Center. http://depts.washington.edu/psywc/handouts.shtml accessed July 15, 2011. “Subject Guides: How to Write a Literature Review.” http://lib.uah.edu/researchassistance/literaturereview.html accessed July 13, 2011. Taylor, Dena and Procter, Margaret. (n.d.). “The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It.” Retrieved from http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/literaturereview “Write a Literature Review.” http://library.ucsc.edu/print/help/howto/write-aliterature-review accessed July 15, 2011. “Writing a Literature Review.” http://www.canberra.edu.au/studyskills/writing/literature accessed July 13, 2011. “The Writer’s Handbook: Learn how to write a review of literature.” http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/ReviewofLiterature.html accessed July 1, 2011. “Writing Center Handouts: preparing for a literature review.” http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ssw/write/handouts/review.html accessed July 15, 2011. 12 | P a g e