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Graduate Studies: Literature Reviews

This guide can be used as an introduction to the resources and services available at the Earl S. Richardson library.

Getting Started

What is a literature review?

  • Both a process and a product

               -Process: involves researching a topic to familiarize yourself with relevant research; identify key authors, arguments, and publications;   and locate issues and gaps in research.

               -Product: a thoroughly-cited critical analysis that synthesizes what is currently known about a topic (theories and study results), written as a narrative.

  • Addresses a topic from various points of view.
  • Highlights: overall trends; conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, conclusions; research gaps; new problems or perspectives.
  • Narrative: has an organizational style and combines elements of both summary and synthesis.
  • Provides a summary and synthesizes of an argument and the idea of others.

What ISN'T a literature review?

  • An annotated bibliography
  • A book review
  • A literary review that critiques a specific work

Why do we do literature reviews?

  • To support your research
  • To introduce readers to current scholarship in your subject area, publications, arguments and ideas
  • To position your work within the academic discipline



Grant, M.J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: An analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x

Literature Review Video

Literature Review Books

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