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Guide to Science Information Resources


Image source: Woman reading, by Christina @,  Permission by Unsplash license.

Image source: FAU Libraries book stacks, by K. Padron.

Image source: Man at laptop, by Wes Hicks, Permission by Unsplash license.

The Literature Review

A literature review is one of the first things done by any student or scholar who plans to pursue new knowledge or do research in most subject areas.  It involves identifying, locating, and examining information and publications on a particular topic. 

Here are the reasons for doing a literature review:

  1. A literature review establishes the background on what has already been researched on a topic.
  2. It shows why a topic is significant to a subject area.
  3. Students and scholars will discover relationships between ideas in the literature.
  4. A literature review helps students and scholars identify major themes and concepts within their topic.
  5. Knowing what has been published allows identification of critical gaps of knowledge and points of disagreement within a subject area.
  6. The literature review helps a scholar or student turn a network of articles into a coherent view of the literature.

A literature review is not:

A literature review allows a student or scholar to integrate and synthesize information on a topic and use it to create new knowledge.  There are different types of reviews that can be done depending on its purpose, your scholarly discipline, and its requirements.

Novice scholars and other academic professionals are expected to get to know the information sources within their field or discipline.  They will also need to distinguish the various types of publications that can be found in a literature review.  FAU students and affiliates can start by using the FAU Libraries, while others can consult the sources at their campus library or information center.  

Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students

In this video, a professor explains the role of the literature review in his research.

North Carolina State University Libraries (2009).  Literature reviews: An overview for graduate students [Video]. YouTube.

A Roadmap for a Literature Review

Do you need more details to start your literature review than what is on this page?  See The Literature Review Research Guide for additional support.

Last updated on May 10, 2024 3:06 PM