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For Researchers

What is a literature review?

A literature review provides a comprehensive review of the literature in a specific area of interest. It enables you to:

  • investigate previous research and find out what’s been done before
  • consider theoretical frameworks
  • identify ‘gaps’ in existing knowledge to find out if your study is worth doing
  • determine/clarify/justify your research question/problem
  • select the most appropriate methodology (if applicable).

Importantly, a literature review sets the context for your study and provides the framework for interpreting the results of your study. A literature review, like an essay, has an introduction, body and a conclusion.

Excerpt taken from: the Learning Zone (Academic Skills), Writing a Literature Review (2014).


Conducting a literature review