Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Subject Guides

2. Find & Manage Research Literature: Lit Review

A guide to finding and managing your literature

Purpose of a literature review

Your literature review is not an annotated bibliography or a research paper where you select resources to support one side of an issue versus another.

The literature review:
 

  • Provides background to the research topic
     
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant in that area
     
  • Identifies major themes, concepts and researchers in an area
     
  • Helps focus your own work 
     
  • Discovers relationships between different research topics
     
  • Suggests unexplored ideas or relationships
     
  • Identifies critical gaps, disagreements, or poor methodology or theory
     
  • Indicates directions for future research 

Books on writing literature reviews

Classes and handout available

Academic Skills Centre offer classes on Writing a Literature Review

Literature Review handout (ASC)

Final Checklist

  • Have you indicated the purpose of the review?
     
  • Why did you include some of the literature and exclude others ?
     
  • Have you emphasised recent developments?
     
  • Is your bibliographic data complete?
     
  • Is there a logic to the way you have organized your material?
     
  • Does the amount of detail included on an issue relate to its importance?
     
  • Have you been sufficiently critical of design and methodological issues?
     
  • Have you indicated when results were conflicting or inconclusive and discussed possible reasons?