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Literature Review Survival Guide: What is a literature review?

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CC-BY Sara Alfred (flickr)

CC-BY Sara Alfred (flickr)

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What is a literature review?

A literature review is:

  1. A list of books and journal articles,
  2. on a specific topic,
  3. grouped by theme,
  4. and evaluated with regard to your research. This evaluation would identify connections, contradictions and gaps in the literature you have found.

The purpose of a literature review, therefore, is:

  1. To get a feel for the agreed academic opinion on the subject (the connections).
  2. To discover the disagreements on the subject (the contradictions).
  3. To find opportunities, (the gaps), for developing and expressing your own opinions.

Next topic: Thesis, antithesis, synthesis


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