What is a literature review?
The purpose of a literature review is to provide for the reader an up to date overview of what is known about a particular topic. The term "literature" refers to the published works (articles and books) on a given topic. A literature review typically includes:
- a statement of the research topic,
- a review of the research and theories published in articles and books about a particular topic,
- identifies key themes and controversies in the literature,
- identifies areas for further research.
A literature review is more than a descriptive summary of each of the articles or books that you find. A literature review is also a synthesis. To synthesize is to combine the ideas that you find in the literature to identify general trends, key arguments, controversies or issues.