Writing Tips

Writing for Academia, Literary Criticism & Analysis, Literature Reviews, and Annotated Bibliographies

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is describes an issue’s main concepts, methodology, or chronological development.  While it provides a thorough overview of the issue, a literature review integrates the various documents by theme to provide an in-depth understanding and progression of the topic. 

Literature Reviews

What is the purpose of a literature review?

To provide and overview of the significant literature published on a topic by summarizing current knowledge, debates, and trends, while also identifying information gaps and prospective areas of development.  

A literature review must do these things:

  1. be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing
  2. synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known
  3. identify areas of controversy in the literature
  4. formulate questions that need further research

What resources are acceptable for a literature review ? (The following is not a comprehensive list)

• Scholarly books
• Articles
• Dissertations
• Primary sources
What is not  a literature review?
  • A statement of personal opinion, such as whether you liked the source.
  • An annotated bibliography of sources listed in paragraphs one after and another

Why are literature reviews important?

• They promote comprehensive knowledge of a subject, which is essential to most research papers. 
• They encourage a thorough understanding  and critically engagement of the topic
• They help identify areas of strength or weakness.