A literature review is a piece of writing that summarizes the current state of existing research on a specific topic. Literature reviews are often located within or immediately after the introduction section in a published article. Some journal articles are entire standalone literature reviews (review articles).
Literature reviews help to bring readers up to speed on a specific topic. They also can help you as the writer by:
- Providing context for your own research
- Demonstrating your knowledge and understanding of the field of study
- Providing ideas for your own research
- Identifying methods which may be useful for your own research
In order to develop a literature review, you must locate sources that substantively discuss your topic. In the review you should: