The literature review chapter of your dissertation or thesis is where you synthesise this prior work and lay the foundation for your own research. So, what exactly is the purpose of the literature review process? There are at least four core functions:. Importantly, you must complete steps one and two before you start writing up your chapter.
The Literature Review | A Complete Step-by-Step Guide
Before getting started on sourcing and reviewing the background literature for a research project, it is important to understand the role that a literature review plays in the research process, and how it can be helpful later on for placing your own findings in context. Knowing the job that a literature review does means you can be more targeted and systematic in your literature searching. The guidance on this page will explain what you need to know about the purpose of a literature review and how to begin scoping your search. New discoveries don't materialise out of nowhere; they build upon the findings of previous experiments and investigations. A literature review shows how the investigation you are conducting fits with what has gone before and puts it into context. If you are doing a thesis, dissertation, or a long report it is likely that you will need to include a literature review. If you are doing a lab write-up or a shorter report, some background reading may be required to give context to your work, but this is usually included as an analysis in the introduction and discussion sections.
Researching and Writing a Literature Review
Please check course or programme information and materials provided by teaching staff , including your project supervisor, for subject-specific guidance. A literature review is a piece of academic writing demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the academic literature on a specific topic placed in context. A literature review also includes a critical evaluation of the material; this is why it is called a literature review rather than a literature report. To illustrate the difference between reporting and reviewing, think about television or film review articles.
A literature review is a survey and discussion of the literature in a given area of study. It is a concise overview of what has been studied, argued, and established about a topic, and it is usually organized chronologically or thematically. A literature review is written in essay format. It is not an annotated bibliography, because it groups related works together and discusses trends and developments rather than focusing on one item at a time. A Literature Review is more than an Annotated Bibliography or a summary, because you are organizing and presenting your sources in terms of their overall relationship to your own project.