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The Literature Review in Science

The purpose of this guide is to explain the importance of the literature review in the sciences and some of the components that make up a quality guide.

Composing the Literature Review

There are marked differences between literature reviews and other types of writing.

  • Write it from your point of view.  Even though you are discussing the findings of others, it is in context to your own work.
  • Remember...summarize and synthesize.  Emphasize what was important in each study and how it relates to your research question.
  • Keep in mind that references to other sources still must be cited just as they are in other types of papers.
  • Write in your own voice.  You are using the literature review to build a case to support your own ideas.
  • Be selective and use few quotes.  It is a literature review and you should avoid going into great depth on any of the sources that you included therein.