What is a literature review?
A literature review is essentially an analysis or synopsis of a collection of
scholarly material. You should focus your review on a specific topic, issue,
research method, area or theory. Literature for the purposes of review may
include journal articles, books or thesis completed at an Honours, Masters or
A literature review includes an analysis of the literature. This can include
examination of an area of research, a particular issue, concept or theory. The
analysis should include a critical evaluation of significant literature in your
chosen area. You may analyse areas including distinguish features or points or
view in the literature. Your analysis may include highlighting weaknesses within
the literature or need for additional research.
Your literature review should demonstrate your knowledge in the area you have
chosen. The review should also assist you in in developing your own ideas on the
area and show where your research fits into the material already produced.
Remember to always consult with your research supervisor or lecturer about
requirements for your particular literature review.
Central Queensland University Library Literature Review Tutorial.
An excellent and thorough site based around frequently asked questions.
Deakin University The Literature review.
Covers what a lit review is, its purpose and a link to a library page at the bottom on how EndNote can assist the process.
RMIT University Library Literature review.
Describes the purpose, goals and contents of the lit review as well as giving examples and links.
University of Melbourne (2008). Conducting a literature review.
A guide to finding material, critical reading skills, how to avoid plagiarism, and tips for structuring and writing your lit review. There's also a useful checklist, further reading and style guides.
Consortium Library from the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University provide a overview of the litereature review process.
Taylor, D. (2003). The literature review: a few tips on conducting it. University of Toronto
A set of questions to help you conduct your literature review and get the most out of the literature.
Bell, J. (1999). Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education and social science. Buckingham, Open University.
Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: releasing the social science research imagination. London, Sage.
Preparing the literature review: tips from advisors
Keeping up to date: tips from advisors
In most fields literature is constantly evolving, and in some cases growing exponentially. The literature review is not a one-off process. You will need to keep up with the latest developments in you field across the course of your thesis.