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Writing a Literature Review

Includes definitions, approaches to literature reviews, finding sources, organizing the literature review, and practical tips.

Elements of a good Literature Review

A good literature review will:

1. Be selective, relevant, focused, and up-to-date

2. Allow the reader to understand why you have covered certain areas and omitted others

3. Use the literature to establish facts and set the context for the present research

4. Have the organization (of the literature review) explained (signaled) in an introductory paragraph

5. State the research question/hypothesis

6. End with a summarization

Different Approaches to a Literature Review

1. Review the literature around the variables of your study.

2. Provide a historical or chronological approach to the topic.

3. Discuss pros and cons on the topic.

4. Report on, or critique, the literature

5. Use a thematic approach (from themes you discovered when reviewing the literature)