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Engineering -- Literature Reviews: Getting Started

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a study of existing published information on a specific topic. Literature reviews:

  • identify key information relevant to a topic
  • assess the status or quality of existing research
  • critically examine support for alternative theories or arguments
  • evaluate research methods used in previous studies.

A good literature review will consist of a summary of key sources, and is analytical and synthesizes information. Usually a literature review is organized, not however a chronological description of discoveries in your field, and explains how your research will address gaps in existing literature on a particular topic.

 

Doing a literature review. (2010). In Thomas, D. R., & Hodges, I. D. Designing and managing your research project: Core skills for social and health research (pp. 105-130). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781446289044

Steps involved in taking a literature review

 

Machi, L. A., & McEvoy, B. T. (2012). The literature review: Six steps to success (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.

Steps to writing a review

Writing a literature review