Skip to Main Content

MATP 699 - Fabiero

What is a Literature Review ?

A literature review is an overview of a topic based on the research that has been conducted.

A literature review focuses on themes, controversies, contrasting/comparing literatures, studied populations, environments in which studies took place, history of the research topic, advancements, setbacks or more.  


  • Provides the reader with a summary of the most important scholarly literature in the field.
  • Provides information on the current state of research.
  • Explains contrasting perspectives and viewpoints and current controversies on the topic.
  • Identifies significant researchers in the field.
  • Identifies primary methodologies used in researching in this field.
  • Identifies areas of the field that require further research.
  • Explains how the research you are doing fits into the larger research picture.

A literature review is NOT equal to an annotated bibliography

  • It is NOT a summary of each article OR a descriptive list of what has been written about the topic

The review does not need to be exhaustive; the objective is not to list as many relevant books, articles, reports as possible. However, the review should contain the most pertinent studies and point to important past and current research and practices in the field.


Lit Review Writing Etiquette & APA

When writing your literature review, use the researcher’s names instead of titles.

Example 1.

Avoid :  In their book (article, etc.) Decolonising the University, Bhambra et al. suggest that….

Instead: Bhambra et al. (2018) offer five tenets for decolonizing….

Example 2.

Avoid : Published in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, Colin Firth’s observations on speech impediments among British royal family members revealed abusive…

Instead: Observations on speech impediments in the British royal family (Firth, 2004), revealed abusive upbringing…

Better Yet : Observations on speech impediments experienced by members of the European privileged classes in the pre-World War 2 era revealed abusive parenting practices (Churchill, W. 1945; Firth, C. et al., 2004; Newhart, R. 1972; Roberts, J. 2010)


APA Guidelines to keep in mind

1. Make sure to cite declarative statements in each paragraph.

** declarative statements that originate from literature, reliable statistics or empirical studies are all statements that someone else has established other than you. These declarative statements need substation, in other words you need to validate by citing research.

  • Example: Affiliative leadership is characterized by a focus on team building and prioritizing employees. (cite some studies that prove this statement here)

** However, if a declarative statement originated from you, there is no need for substantiation

  • Example : In order to gain a deeper insight into the role of the conductor in a musical group, the next chapter of this study will delve into a detailed review of the literature that compares and contrasts different leadership approaches, including transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles.

2. Make sure to use multiple sources and continue citing as you incorporate these new sources in each paragraph.