What NOT to do

Literature review should avoid: Reporting Must critically evaluate Repeating Don’t repeat what has already been said. Synthesis and critically evaluate. Plagiarising Don’t try and pass off someone else’s work as your own. Always reference correctly to avoid this.


Why reference? Acknowledge those who did the work. Give credit to author for time, money and effort spent conducting research. Provide sources for readers to check our work. Part of triangulation process. Allows readers to check our accuracy of reporting. Provide readers with full text so they can read & learn from them. To read more than a summary that […]


Literature review brings together current body of subject knowledge. Most academic papers are relatively short (<10 pages) therefore cannot contain current body of knowledge, just reference to parts that are reported on in paper. Papers typically make only small contribution to body of knowledge. Need to read a lot of papers. Literature review demonstrates ability to bring together information and […]

Potential Problems with the Literature Search

Searching literature can generate uncertainty and doubt. The search generates questions When reviewing information sources with a particular question in mind, one can build a familiarity with the range of information available. This in itself can lead to questions not previously contemplated. The need for refinement Refinement of the topic starts in early stages and continues throughout in order to […]

Critical Evaluation

When there is a lot of information on the subject area, it is easy to repeat what existing literature already states. This is not a literature review as nothing has been reviewed. Need to make own comments on literature being reviewed. Should be well reasoned & supported by evidence from literature. If there are clearly opposing views published, task is […]

What is a Literature Review?

Means to establish what is already know about chosen research topic. Critical evaluation – not a summary of other’s work. Demonstrates width & depth in reading of relevant information. Provides theoretical framework to be employed in own research. No defined standard but has three sections: Introduction – sets context for reader Main body – argument developed as literature is discussed […]