Answered By: Sarah Hazelmyer
Last Updated: Jan 28, 2019     Views: 55

What is it?

A literature review examines a large swath of information published on a given topic for a specific reason--to show the progression of research, to attribute meaning, to reinterpret findings, to assert relevance, etc.  At first glance, a literature review may seem like a glorified summary; however, literature reviews are the avenues by which information on a given topic is synthesized.  While effectively summarizing information, literature reviews examine research through a big picture lens.

Is it different from a research a paper?

Most definitely!  Academic research papers are intended to introduce new arguments.  Literature reviews, on the other hand, summarize and synthesize existing arguments and ideas but don't offer new contributions to the field.  Literature reviews tackle the question: What do you we know about a given topic, and are there any gaps in the known research?

Adapted from The Writing Center at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Literature Reviews and Virginia Commonwealth University's Write a Literature Review.

Resources for writing a literature review:

A few books available at the library:  

Online resources:

Getting help at EKU:

You don't have to go it alone!  Take advantage of the following services to receive tailored, one-on-one help:


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