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Literature Reviews

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review, sometimes called "a review of the literature", is a select list of resources and materials available on a topic. It may serve as an introduction to new research, or it may stand alone as its own body of work. Either way, an effective literature review analyzes and synthesizes its sources to find new patterns and draw interesting conclusions. A literature review can help you narrow your focus during your research, and can help you develop your thesis as well as give it a strong basis. They show the reader your thorough understanding of the existing research on any topic in your field, and also help to justify how your research. 

A literature review is NOT:

  • a list of sources
  • a full summary of each source
  • a collection of quotes
  • composed only of sources that support your thesis

Some examples of literature reviews across several disciplines include:

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