Chapter 5: The Literature Review

Learning Objectives

  • Describe a literature review and explain its purpose.
  • Describe the steps in undertaking a literature review.
  • Write a literature review.
  • Identify acceptable sources to include in your literature review.
  • Apply the five ‘C’s of writing a literature review.
  • Compare a literature review, an essay and an annotated bibliography.
  • Explain the importance of APA referencing and list some of the sources for getting assistance with APA referencing.

In this chapter, we will focus on writing a literature review. As part of this focus we will concentrate on four key aspects, as follows:

  1. The purpose behind a literature review and where it fits in the research process;
  2. The difference between a literature review, an essay, and an annotated bibliography;
  3. The special aspects that distinguish a literature review from other styles of academic writing; and
  4. The way to conduct a literature review and is the importance of reviewing previous research studies.

If you have never written a literature review, and even if you have, this chapter will provide valuable information for you. Understanding how to write a literature review is important because it is quite likely that you will have to do another one at some point in your academic and/or professional career.


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