What is a literature review?
- Both a process and a product
- Process: involves researching a topic to familiarize yourself with relevant research; identify key authors, arguments, and publications; and locate issues and gaps in the research
- Product: a thoroughly-cited critical analysis that synthesizes what is currently known about a topic (both theories and study results), written as a narrative
- Addresses aspects of a topic from various points of view
- Can point out things like: overall trends; conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, conclusions; research gaps; new problems or perspectives
- Your interpretation of what's been written on your topic
- Narrative: it has an organizational scheme and combines both summary and synthesis
- Does not add new contributions, but instead summarizes and synthesizes the arguments and ideas of others
What ISN'T a literature review?
- An annotated bibliography
- A book review
- A literary review that critiques a specific work (such as a play or a short story)
Why do we do literature reviews?
- To support your own research
- To introduce readers to the current state of scholarship on your topic and highlight key people, publications, arguments, and ideas
- To position your own work within your academic discipline
Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009)..A typology of reviews :an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies.Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x
Knopf, J. (2006). Doing a literature review. PS: Political Science Politics, 39(1), 127-132.
McMenamin, I. (2006). Process and text: Teaching students to review the literature. PS: Political Science Politics, 39(1), 133-135.