If you are an undergraduate or graduate student, there is a good chance that you will be asked to conduct at least one literature review during your coursework. A literature review is a paper, or a part of a larger research paper , that reviews the critical points of current knowledge on a particular topic. It includes substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions that others bring to the subject. Its ultimate goal is to bring the reader up to date with current literature on a topic and usually forms the basis for another goal, such as future research that needs to be done in the area or serves as part of a thesis or dissertation. A literature review should be unbiased and does not report any new or original work. Starting the process of conducting and writing a literature review can be overwhelming.
What Is a Literature Review?
Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review
In essence, a literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It illuminates how knowledge has evolved within the field, highlighting what has already been done, what is generally accepted, what is emerging and what is the current state of thinking on the topic. In addition, within research-based texts such as a Doctoral thesis, a literature review identifies a research gap i. However, your literature review does not need to be inclusive of every article and book that has been written on your topic because that will be too broad.
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PLoS Comput Biol 9 7 : e Editor: Philip E. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The funders had no role in the preparation of the manuscript.
The review provides a summary, description, and critical evaluation of a topic, issue, or area of research. It should not be confused with a book review, which summarizes a book and has a less structured format. The author of a literature review is usually giving feedback on published works. The APA format is standard for literature reviews, as it is for dissertations, theses, or published academic articles. Acquaint yourself with the core elements of this writing style, including fonts, margins, spacing, body text format, title pages, abstracts, text citations, bibliography, and quotations.