Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Writing 131 (Ruiz): What is a Literature Review?

Journal Production

Literature Review Basics

  • The term "literature" refers to any collection of materials on a topic, not necessarily literary works like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Scarlet Letter.
  • A literature review is a summary and synthesis of original research articles/publications.
  • Sources used in a literature review should be original research, not other literature reviews.
  • A literature review should include the most "important" articles published on the topic.
  • A literature review should provide readers with a comprehensive foundation on the topic.
  • A literature review may provide a new interpretation of synthesized information.
  • The focus of a literature review should be fairly narrow.
  •  

Resources for Writing a Literature Review

Organizing a Literature Review

Literature review must contain at least three basic elements:

  • Introduction: Gives a brief idea of the subject of the literature review.
  • Body: Includes a discussion of sources. Can be organized in different ways
    • chronological - look at the issue over time or order of publications
    • thematic - organize around topic or subtopics related to the subject
    • methodological - organize based on the methods used by researchers or writers
  • Conclusions/Recommendations: Sum up what you have drawn from the literature and discuss implications or need for forther research.