a literature review surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated 1

Literature review consists of - summary of key sources critical evaluations gaps in literature point out contradictory studies

It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research

shows familiarity with topic


  • Find out what is already known
  • Find gaps in research/literature
  • Identify relevant theories, methods, and debates that relate to your research question
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate in the literature
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic


  1. Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. Fourth edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2014. ↩