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ResMAP: Literature Review

Mapping the research journey for Post Graduate and Doctoral Researchers

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The Literature Review

The purpose of the literature review is to look at what is being published in your area as a discussion of what is happening in your field of study at the present time, then critically appraise the literature and say what points are important, considering the strengths and weaknesses.

The literature review should:

  • Provide a rationale for the question
  • Provide a conceptual frame of reference

Read basic writings in the field as well as writing of key thinkers. Examine others points of view and seek to understand their arguments.

In essence the literature review should answer the following questions:

  • What is known/understood?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of present knowledge and understanding?
  • What is not known? Where are the gaps in knowledge?
  • What is needed to be studied to improve knowledge and understanding?
  • What theories can frame the approach to study of the topic?

It can be worth contacting your Liaison Librarian early on for advice regarding the information landscape and potential sources for your topic.