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Nursing - Literature Reviews & Systematic Reviews

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.

Start a literature review by using the FAU Libraries' indexes and databases (FAUNet log-in required for searching from off campus), and become familiar with the ones used within your field or discipline.  In addition, distinguish the various types of publications that can be found in a literature review.

Original content by Kristy Padron (2019) from Guide to science information sources: The literature review.  Retrieved from

The Literature Review

See the following to get an overview of the literature review, the different types, the steps on beginning one, and where to go for sources.

If you've been asked to a literature review for a class, see the links below to see what it is, how to do one, and for an example!

Creating a literature review matrix is one way to organize your sources:

Systematic Reviews

A systematic review is a synthesis of literature on a particular concept.  It takes a literature review further by utilizing pre-selected inclusion criteria for the types of literature that will be included.  See the links below for the characteristics of a systematic review, how to get started with doing one, and examples.

Last updated on Feb 23, 2024 11:55 AM