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The Literature provides the foundation of the study

The Review builds a coherent argument, answering why the study needs to be conducted


A literature review:

  • is purposeful and systematic
  • engages in reflective critique
  • provides the context for further evidence
  • is expected to say something original

A good literature review.....

  • identifies & clarifies the key concepts, ideas & theories relating to your research topic
  • should be as inclusive as possible, to capture a range of ideas currently in circulation
  • sorts the existing research clearly and logically
  • summarises and critiques the evidence
  • synthesises it all and indicates a research gap for future enquiry


A literature review Is NOT….

  • an annotated bibliography - a collection of citations arranged alphabetically with each citation being summarized
  • an essay without any attempt at research analysis and synthesis
  • about everything that has ever been written on your topic


What will I learn from doing a literature review?

  • discover and evaluate research relevant to your field
  • identify methodologies relevant to your study
  • familiarise yourself and your readers with what has been written on your topic
  • discover key concepts and gaps in the research
  • establish a theoretical basis for your research
  • position your research in context with what has been previously written on your topic