A literature review provides a critical evaluation of the existing literature on a particular topic. It will determine and articulate what is known and unknown on the topic, providing context for your research.
A literature review should address
- What research has already been undertaken in this area
- Present results and conclusions of existing research
- How findings will inform your investigation
- Identify gaps in literature that warrant further inquiry
It is important to
- Include the most current research on the topic
- Avoid outdated or discredited material
- Present a broad and unbiased review
- Analyse, evaluate and contrast existing research
- Examine design and methods, and the outcomes
- Present your position in relation to the literature reviewed
Guides to assist with writing a literature review are available from:
You may also wish to view the following video Literature Reviews: an overview for graduate students created by NCSU Libraries or the What is a literature review? tutorial created by the University of Sydney.