Answered By: APUS Librarians Last Updated: Oct 11, 2023 Views: 9905
Remember that the purpose of a literature review is to:
- demonstrate that you are familiar with the existing research on your topic.
- provide a context for your own investigation by showing how it fits in with the existing research.
- The library's Everything search box (aka Primo) is the best place to start, because it searches most of our library's databases at once. But, you can also find databases by academic school and by subject.
- Keywords are key! Click here to learn how to find the best search terms. Once you've mastered that, check out these advanced research skills.
- See also:
Next, you'll carefully read and take notes from the scholarly sources that you've found. Reading research articles can be daunting at first; click here for power-reading tips. In particular, be on the lookout for:
- Themes or trends in the various authors' results or interpretation
- Controversies surrounding your topic
- Strengths and weaknesses in the studies that you read
- Aspects of the topic that are not well studied, and merit further research
Now you will be ready to start writing.
- The Graduate Writing section of Writing@APUS provides tips on writing a literature review (undergraduates are welcome to use it, too). Navigate to A Focused Look and click The Literature Review.
- Watch the helpful video produced by the APUS Graduate Studies team: Writing the Literature Review
- Another helpful resource is SAGE Project Planner: Reviewing the Literature.
- Pautasso, M. (2013). Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review. PLoS Computational Biology, 9(7), e1003149. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003149
- What is a scholarly literature review? How can I find one?