A Literature review is a type of academic writing that provides an overview of a specific topic. It surveys scholarly work such as academic books, computerized databases, conference proceedings, dissertations/theses, empirical studies, government reports, historical records, journal articles, monographs, and statistical handbooks.

As an advanced form of academic writing, a literature review critically analyzes the relationship among different scholarly works and the current work. It can be written as a stand-alone paper or as part of a research paper explaining a theoretical framework and related studies. Unlike an annotated bibliography which presents a summary of a book, article, a literature review combines both summary and synthesis.

Annotated BibliographyBook Review
Literature Review
Summarizes the references and explains how important they are in addressing the research questions Evaluates a book Reviews a significant number of scholarly work to identify what is known and not known about a topic.
Doing a literature review will test your ability to seek literature efficiently and identify useful scholarly work. It will also test your ability to evaluate studies for their validity and reliability. Hence, writing a literature review involves research, critical appraisal, and writing. Everything else included, a student may take 40 hours to finish a well-written literature review. Functions of a literature Review
  1. Justifies a research question, method, or theoretical and conceptual framework.
  2. Establishes the relevance of the topic.
  3. Provides necessary information to better understand a specific topic or study.
  4. Shows reviewers familiarity and mastery of the topic.
  5. Establishes the niche of the study.
  6. Resolves conflict among contradictory studies.
Structure of a Literature Review


  1. The purpose of writing the literature review and the importance of the topic being reviewed
  2. The scope of the review.
  3. Criteria used for selecting the literature
  4. Organizational pattern of the review
  1. Historical background
  2. Relevant stories
  3. Relationship between and among the studies, and how each study advanced a theory
  4. Strengths and weaknesses of each paper
  5. Various viewpoints of the topic
  1. Restatement of the main argument or thesis
  2. Main agreements and disagreements in the literature
  3. If stand-alone paper: conclusions, implications, and direction for future studies
  4. If part of a thesis or research paper: linking of the literature review to the research questions
  5. Overall perspective of the topic
References: Barrrot, J. (2016). Academic Writing. Pp. 186-187. C & E Publishing, Inc. Literature Review – Literature Review A Literature Review … (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.coursehero.com/file/21634523/LITERATURE-REVIEW/