A literature review is both a summary and explanation of the complete and current state of knowledge on a narrowed topic as found in academic books and journal articles.
You might be asked to write one of two broad kinds of literature reviews: a stand-alone assignment for a course, often as part of your training in the research of your ﬁeld, or as a part of an introduction to or preparation for a longer work, usually a thesis or research report. The specific purpose and length of the literature review will vary. One way to understand the differences between these two types is to read published literature reviews or the literature review chapter of theses and dissertations in your own subject area. Analyze the structure of their arguments and note the way they address the issues.
You might be asked to write another type of literature review called a systematic review. Writers of systematic reviews use clearly defined search parameters to gather literature that will help them answer a focused research question.
If you plan to write a systematic review, you can book an appointment with a librarian to develop a search strategy.
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