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Literature Review: Introducing the Literature Review

This guide intends to provide students with information and advice about the literature review process


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The Literature Review: What Is It?

The literature review:

  • identifies and synthesises the literature on a specific subject
  • critically evaluates research results, and the way in which the research was conducted
  • can be part of the early stages of a research project, or is sometimes written as a stand-alone document

The Literature Review: What's In It For You?

Completing the literature review will help you to:

  • identify a range of views surrounding your subject (for and against, past and present)
  • become familiar with the works of influential authors in the subject
  • understand conflicting viewpoints that surround the subject
  • get to know major works written about the subject
  • learn about the theories and concepts that underpin the subject
  • examine the research that's already been done in the subject
  • gather information about research techniques


The literature review should also give you ideas about:

  • areas of the subject that have not yet been fully explored
  • opportunities to undertake further research into the subject

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