Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose of a literature review is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.
A literature review may constitute an essential chapter of a thesis or dissertation, or may be a self-contained review of writings on a subject (such as a journal article). In either case, its purpose is to:
The literature review itself, however, does not present new primary scholarship.
A literature review should include:
Preparation of a literature review may be divided into four broad stages: