A literature review provides a critical account of the existing research and explains how this research is significant to the topic you are studying. The review helps form the intellectual framework for the study.
A Literature Review is NOT:
The review need not 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.
A literature review
a) Using Existing Literature Reviews
Literature reviews may already exist on some aspect of your topic. Search online databases carefully to find literature reviews.
PsycINFO via EBSCO uses the term "literature review" in the methodology field. To search for a literature review:
b) Classic and Landmark Studies
It is usually important to comment on classic works on your topic. Not doing so might be considered a failing of your review. While it is not always easy for one not yet an authority on the subject to be aware of landmark or particularly influential works, the more one researches, generally the more one recognizes names that are mentioned over and over as seminal and/or influential authorities.
Careful research in databases will often bring to light articles that mention classic works. It may be useful to use such keyword terms as “classic” or “landmark’ in your searching of databases.
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