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Writing Literature Reviews

What is a literature review?

A literature review ought to be a clear, concise synthesis of relevant information. A literature review should introduce the study it precedes and show how that study fits into topically related studies that already exist. Structurally, a literature review ought to be something like a funnel: start by addressing the topic broadly and gradually narrow as the review progresses.


from Literature Reviews by CU Writing Center

Why review the literature?

Reference to prior literature is a defining feature of academic and research writing. Why review the literature?

  • To help you understand a research topic
  • To establish the importance of a topic
  • To help develop your own ideas
  • To make sure you are not simply replicating research that others have already successfully completed
  • To demonstrate knowledge and show how your current work is situated within, builds on, or departs from earlier publications

from Literature Review Basics from University of La Verne

Tips & Tricks

Before writing your own literature review, take a look at these resources which share helpful tips and tricks: