“Lit Review” - What is a Literature Review?
A literature review is a critical, analytical summary and synthesis of the current knowledge of a topic. It should:
1. Have a particular focus or theme to organize the review.
2. Discuss the significant academic literature important for that focus.
3. Compare, relate, and contrast different theories and findings.
4. Reflect trends over time.
5. Be written in a legible academic style, leading logically from idea to idea.
6. Paraphrase your findings, use parenthetical references in the text, and an APA reference list at the end.
Example: …describe recent trends in supervision (Diaz, 2006; Stacey & Holmes, 2004).
7. If the Lit Review stands alone - distinct from a thesis, study or dissertation - it should include a brief introduction and conclusion.
8. Establish length, time frame, and specific requirements with instructor or advisor.
What is “The Literature”?
You might think of "the literature" as the scholarly conversation on your research topic. Your goal in your literature review is to synthesize and draw connections between the key points in the conversation, as you see them. To find these key points, you'll be looking for the following types of publication:
Academic books & e-books
You can search for literature reviews on various topics in the databases by adding "literature reviews" as a search term.
For example, here's a search you might try in the library discovery tool:
Sherrill Library | Lesley University, Brattle Campus | 89 Brattle Street - Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-349-8850
John & Carol Moriarty Library | Lesley University, Porter Campus | 1801 Massachusetts Avenue - Cambridge, MA 02140 | 617-349-8070