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Literature Review: Home


This site is adapted from the wonderful Literature Review site created by Julie LaDell-Thomas, Off-Campus Librarian at Central Michigan University. It is used with her permission, and we thank her for that. 


One of the key components of a thesis or dissertation is the literature review, which should synthesize major research studies that are relevant to the student's research question.

Effective use of the Woodruff Library can contribute to the successful completion of your paper. In the following pages, you will be guided through the process of researching a topic and writing a literature review. You will learn how to identify, evaluate and use scholarly information, and you'll develop skills that will help with research and writing throughout your educational, professional and personal endeavors.

Before you begin your research, you can learn more about literature reviews and the research process in the background readings and other resources linked from the RESOURCES box on the left side of this page.

Image: (CC) J. Durham:

Literature Review Defined

„A literature review is a comprehensive summary of previous research on a topic. The literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, and other sources relevant to a particular area of research. The review should enumerate, describe, summarize, objectively evaluate and clarify this previous research.  It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you (the author) determine the nature of your research.  The literature review acknowledges the work of previous researchers, and in so doing, assures the reader that your work has been well conceived.  It is assumed that by mentioning a previous work in the field of study, that the author has read, evaluated, and assimiliated that work into the work at hand. A literature review creates a "landscape" for the reader, giving her or him a full understanding of the developments in the field.  This landscape informs the reader that the author has indeed assimilated significant works in the field into her or his research. 

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Brad Ost
Robert W. Woodruff Library, AUC
111 James P. Brawley Dr, SW
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