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For a focused scientific review, see systematic review.

A literature review is a body of text that aims to review the critical points of current knowledge and or methodological approaches on a particular topic. Literature reviews are secondary sources, and as such, do not report any new or original experimental work.

Most often associated with academic-oriented literature, such as theses, a literature review usually precedes a research proposal and results section. Its ultimate goal is to bring the reader up to date with current literature on a topic and forms the basis for another goal, such as future research that may be needed in the area.

A well-structured literature review is characterized by a logical flow of ideas; current and relevant references with consistent, appropriate referencing style; proper use of terminology; and an unbiased and comprehensive view of the previous research on the topic.

Further reading Edit

  • Cooper, H. (1998). Synthesizing Research: A Guide for Literature Reviews.
  • Dellinger, A. (2005). Validity and the Review of Literature. Research in the Schools, 12(2), 41-54.
  • Dellinger, A. B. & Leech, N. L. (2007). Toward a Unified Validation Framework in Mixed Methods Research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Vol. 1, No. 4, 309-332.
  • Galvan, J.L. (1999). Writing Literature Reviews.
  • Green, B.N., Johnson, C.D.,and Adams, A. (2006) Writing Narrative Literature Reviews for Peer-Reviewed Journals: Secrets of the Trade. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 5(6), pp. 101-114.
  • Hart, C. (1998). Doing a Literature Review. Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. London: Sage and Open University. ISBN 0761959742
  • Hart, C. (2001) Doing a Literature Search. A Comprehensive Guide for the Social Sciences. London: Sage. ISBN 0761968091

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