Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.
Similar to primary research, development of the literature review requires four stages:
Literature reviews should comprise the following elements:
In assessing each piece, consideration should be given to:
A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject. In either case, its purpose is to:
The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary scholarship.
4. Examples of Literature Reviews
An annotated example of a literature review may be found:
Find a published, peer-reviewed literature review by searching Search @UW for the following:
Ruff, C. L. & Olson, M. A. (2009). The attitudes of interior design students towards sustainability. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 19(1), 67-77.
5. For more information:
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center. (2009). Writer's Handbook: Common Writing Assignments: Review of Literature.
Madison, Wisconsin: Author.
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