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What is a Literature Review:
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What is a Literature Review

"What is a literature review" is a question many students ask when faced with beginning a dissertation. The literature review is an indispensable component of a dissertation, thesis, or research paper. Knowing what is a literature review and what isn't is the key to writing a successful literature review.

What is a literature review but a detailed survey of existing research papers, dissertations and theses relevant to the student's own research topic. A student's dissertation must not form in a vacuum; the successful dissertation is informed by the existing literature and is in many cases a direct attempt to fill a gap in the existing research on the subject.

After determining an appropriate topic to take up in the dissertation, the student will search the literature for all relevant papers dealing with similar and overlapping topics. The student will design research that complements the existing research. When the time comes to write the dissertation, the student will discuss the relevant literature he or she has studied, and discuss ways in which his or her own research contributes in a meaningful way to the existing literature.

"What is a literature review" and "how do you write literature reviews" are excellent questions to ask on the Web, at the university library, of one's faculty advisor, and of fellow students. Gathering as many perspectives and tips as possible on the structures and procedures for the literature review will assist the student in answering this important question.

What is a literature review? It is the act of reviewing the relevant literature as a reader, and then reporting on the most relevant literature and its implications on the topic at hand. The successful literature review will provide ample evidence that the student has surveyed the field of study in great detail, absorbed the previous knowledge, and is proceeding with research that is informed by the body of existing literature. The literature review will be found early in the dissertation, just after the introduction and before the methodology. The more comprehensive the literature review, the better the student will lay the groundwork for the importance of his or her own dissertation research.