Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Writing a Literature Review: Getting Started

Types of Literature Reviews

Different projects involve different kinds of literature reviews with different kinds and amounts of work. And, of course, the "end products" vary.

  • Honors paper
  • Capstone project
  • Research Study
  • Senior thesis
  • Masters thesis
  • Doctoral dissertation
  • Research article
  • Grant proposal
  • Evidence based practice

A Literature Review is NOT

Keep in mind that a literature review defines and sets the stage for your later research.  While you may take the same steps in researching your literature review, your literature review is not:

Not an annotated bibliography in which you summarize each article that you have reviewed.  A lit review goes beyond basic summarizing to focus on the critical analysis of the reviewed works and their relationship to your research question.

Not a research paper where you select resources to support one side of an issue versus another.  A lit review should explain and consider all sides of an argument in order to avoid bias, and areas of agreement and disagreement should be highlighted.

 

Attribution Notice

Portions of this LibGuide were created courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Library System and Marian Hampton, who created the Literature Review LibGuide.

What is a Literature Review?

 

 

 

 

 

A literature review is a systematic review of the published literature on a specific topic or research question.  The literature review is designed to analyze-- not just summarize-- scholarly writings that are related directly to your research question.  That is, it represents the literature that provides background information on your topic and shows a correspondence between those writings and your research question.

This guide is designed to be a general resource for those completing a literature review in their field. 

Why is a Literature Review Important?

A literature review is important because it:

  • Explains the background of research on a topic.
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area.
  • Helps focus your own research questions or problems
  • Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
  • Suggests unexplored ideas or populations
  • Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
  • Tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.
  • Identifies critical gaps, points of disagreement, or potentially flawed methodology or theoretical approaches.
  • Indicates potential directions for future research.

Research . . hey, anyone can do it

Thanks Dave Kellett   http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/100806.html

Ask a Librarian!

Profile Photo
Brittany Heer
she/her/hers
Contact:
Heer Evaluation

PBHS 207E
317-940-8550

Questions? Ask Butler Libraries

Butler Libraries Irwin LibraryButler Libraries Irwin Library

For immediate assistance, chat with the Information Commons desk.

 

To contact the librarian that supports the discipline or subject area covered by this LibGuide, email Sally Neal, Associate Dean for Instruction and User Services, sneal@butler.edu.

Irwin Library's regular semester hours are:

Sunday 10:00 AM - 1:00 AM
Monday-Thursday 7:30 AM - 1:00 AM
Friday 7:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday 12:00 Noon - 8:00 PM

Check the Library's website for holiday and break hours.

Email: infocommons@butler.edu
Text us: (317) 758-3551
Phone317-940-9227

CONTACT

Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

Like us on FacebookInstagramFollow us on Twitter