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Psychology 12: Literature Reviews

What Is a Literature Review (Scribbr)

What Is a Literature Review?

A literature review provides:

  • A critical overview of the scholarly research that has already been done on a topic. 
  • A presentation of major issues or controversies associated with the topic.
  • A critical evaluation of the existing scholarly research. 
  • An explanation of where your research study stands in relation to existing knowledge.
  • An explanation of your methodology for your research.

Note: A literature review is not just a summary of current research and thinking about a topic. A literature review requires you to take a critical, global view of your topic. It is the part of your research paper where you compare and critique existing scholarly findings about a topic, and explain where your thinking fits into the existing research.  For example: Are you addressing a gap in knowledge? Are you presenting a different perspective on a topic? 

Resources for Writing a Literature Review

Placement of a Literature Review in a Research Study

Parts of a Research Study infographic created by Instruction and Liaison Librarian, Kadie Turcotte, at the McQuade Library, Merrimack College. Reproduced with permission.