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Literature Reviews: A Resource Guide for Psychology: Home

What is a Literature Review

Many students struggle with literature reviews, especially when writing theses or dissertations.  This guide is meant to alleviate these difficulties while helping learn to produce quality literature reviews in an efficient manner.

So what is a literature review?  To put it simply a literature review is “the process of reading, analyzing, evaluating, and summarizing scholarly materials about a specific topic.” (Richard Nordquist.  “Grammar & Composition: Literature Review”. 

A well written literature review will:

  • show that the writer has a  solid foundation,
  • add to the credibility of the research,
  • demonstrate how the research topic fits into the discipline(s) as a whole, and
  • helps make the case for why this research is needed.

The literature review process shown in the handout shows the basic steps in writing literature reviews.  Note that literature reviews differ greatly depending upon the format and discipline.  Please let me or your subject librarian know if you need additional help.


This guide was originally created by Heather Cook.