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Literature Review: Home

This guide provides support for conducting literature reviews.

APA Central Online

Books

Conducting research literature reviews : from the Internet to paper Q180.55 M4 F56 2010

Citation Manuals

Copies of the style manuals are available at the library's reference desk.

 

 
American Medical Association

  
American Psychological Association


Chicago Manual


MLA (Modern Language Association)

 
 

Additional Online Help

OWL - Purdue Online Writing Lab provides examples of Annotated Bibliographies for APA, MLA, and Chicago Styles.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is an thorough and up-to-date overview of existing research about the topic being studied.  The literature may come from books, articles, documentaries, interviews, critical reviews, DVDs, or other formats. 

It's a review because it usually contains a summary, synthesis, or analysis of the central arguments in the existing literature on the topic.  A literature review does not present an original argument, but instead presents the arguments of others. The sources are the main focus in a literature review and the author summarizes the arguments or ideas of others. You should include only the most relevant sources on a topic.

The literature review may also include gaps in the literature, identifying areas where further research needs to be completed.

 

Literature Review Video

Source: David Taylor, University of Maryland University College

Literature Review Tutorial, Part 2

Source: David Taylor, University of Maryland University College

Library Quick Links

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What is the purpose of a literature review?

A literature review can have several purposes.  It can:

  • summarize the existing research on a particular topic
  • introduce the important research on a topic
  • point out contradictory or controversial studies or methodologies
  • raise a question or highlight an issue for further study
  • help to contextualize the current research