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Use citation searching to track how scholars interact with, and build upon, previous research: Key to your literature review is a critical analysis of the literature collected around your topic.The analysis will explore relationships, major themes, and any critical gaps in the research expressed in the work.
All literature reviews should be more than a mere description of the current state of knowledge of an area, and should critically evaluate the theoretical positions and research studies, drawing attention to major debates.
This is particularly true for a research dissertation or paper, which should go one step further by using the review to situate the author's own contribution to knowledge.
Writing a literature review for a research paper is a daunting task because it takes lots of time and effort.
It involves listing, analyzing, concluding, and summarizing all useful academic sources used to write a research paper.
The literature of a literature review is not made up of novels and short stories and poetry—but is the collection of writing and research that has been produced on a particular topic.
The purpose of the literature review is to give you an overview of a particular topic.
Unlike an annotated bibliography, which is a list of sources with short descriptions, a literature review synthesizes sources into a summary that has a thesis or statement of purpose—stated or implied—at its core.
Ask us if you have questions about refining your topic, search methods, writing tips, or citation management. Literature for your review will typically be acquired through scholarly books, journal articles, and/or dissertations.
Literature reviews show that you have examined the breadth of knowledge and can justify your thesis or research questions.
They are also valuable tools for other researchers who need to find a summary of that field of knowledge.