literature review definition
A literature review is a comprehensive summary of previous research on a topic. The literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, and other sources relevant to a particular area of research. The review should enumerate, describe, summarize, objectively evaluate and clarify this previous research. It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you (the author) determine the nature of your research. The literature review acknowledges the work of previous researchers, and in so doing, assures the reader that your work has been well conceived. It is assumed that by mentioning a previous work in the field of study, that the author has read, evaluated, and assimiliated that work into the work at hand.
A literature review creates a “landscape” for the reader, giving her or him a full understanding of the developments in the field. This landscape informs the reader that the author has indeed assimilated all (or the vast majority of) previous, significant works in the field into her or his research.
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This guide brings together all the resources you will need to understand what a literature review is (and isn’t), and to conduct and write your own literature review.
A literature review must:
A literature review is both a summary and explanation of the current state of knowledge on a focused topic as found in academic books, journal articles and all other sources connected to the subject of study. Its aim is to provide an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic and to demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within the larger field of study.