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How to Write a Literature Review: Home

What is a Literature Review?

So you've been asked to write a literature review. What next?

To get started, let's go over what a literature review does. Often, you will find a literature review section in a scholarly article. It's where the author details "what's out there". First, the authors look at the current scholarly literature on their paper topic. They read through them, then select a few which they believe are important to provide a good overview of what research has been done on their topic. In the literature review, they summarize the key points of the reviewed works, including the value they add to the conversation on their topic. 

The literature review can be organized chronologically by each work reviewed, or melded into a conversation by organizing by theme, by different trends, or by which method the studies used to conduct research.

If you were asked to write a literature review, it helps to think of it as something which could expand into being a part of something larger. If you can pick a topic that interests you, you could go on to use the literature review as a beginning part of your own scholarly paper someday. 

Find Scholarly Works to Review Online

You can use FoxHunt to search library collections, but don't forget to try some searches in our Library's collection of databases. They have more resources than what appears through a FoxHunt search. You can also access databases specific to your area of research through using the database links on our subject guides. Below are some popular general databases to start your search. As always, ask a librarian if you would like help! 

Types of Literature Review Articles

Narrative Review - assessment and summary of research completed on a specific topic

Systematic Review- assesses and summarizes research on a specifc topic using a standardized methodology to gather and evaluate the research studies

Meta-Synthesis- a qualitative review of research studies which synthesizes information from multiple studies on a specific topic

Meta-Analysis- a quantitative review of research studies which gathers together and analyzes data from multiple studies on a specifc topic

Literature Review Resources

Need an Article or Book Marist Doesn't Have?

If you came across an article or book you would like for your research, but we don't have access to it, you can try borrowing it for free from another library through our InterLibrary Loan or SUNY Resource Sharing programs! SUNY Resource Sharing has books and DVDs and InterLibrary Loan has access to book chapters, journal articles, or dissertations unavailable in the library or books unavailable in the library or SUNY Resource Sharing. 

If you plan to use these services, please plan ahead as these items do need time to arrive depending on where they are coming from. 

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