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Geosciences

This guide provides information on finding and using geosciences related resources.

Literature Review Basics

This video will provide a short introduction to literature reviews.

Steps For Writing a Literature Review

Recommended steps for writing a literature review:

  1. Review what a literature review is, and is not 
  2. Review your assignment and seek clarification from your instructor if needed
  3. Narrow your topic
  4. Search and gather literature resources. 
  5. Read and analyze literature resources
  6. Write the literature review
  7. Review appropriate Citation and Documentation Style for your assignment and literature review

Common Questions

What is a literature review?

A literature review is a type of scholarly, researched writing that discusses the already published information on a narrow topic

What is the purpose of a writing literature review?

Writing a literature review improves your personal understanding of a topic, and demonstrates your knowledge and ability to make connections between concepts and ideas. The literature review is a service to your reader, summarizing past ideas about a topic, bringing them up to date on the latest research, and making sure they have all any background information they need to understand the topic.  

What is "the literature"?

This already published information- called the literature- can be from primary information sources such as speeches, interviews, and reports, or from secondary information sources such as peer-reviewed journal articles, dissertations, and books. These type of sources are probably familiar to you from previous research projects you’ve done in your classes.

Is a literature review it's own paper?

You can write a literature review as a standalone paper, or as part of a larger research paper. When a standalone paper, the literature review acts as a summary, or snapshot, of what has been said and done about a topic in the field so far. When part of the a larger paper, a literature review still acts as a snapshot, but the prior information it provides can also support the new information, research, or arguments presented later in the paper.

Does a literature review contain an argument?

No, a literature review does NOT present an argument or new information. The literature review is a foundation that summarizes and synthesizes the existing literature in order for you and your readers to understand what has already been said and done about your topic.