A literature review synthesizes scholarly literature on a topic by evaluating a selection of sources.
It describes common themes, but must also demonstrate the author's understanding of the literature through critical analysis, as well as identify gaps and/or controversies in the research.
The Basics of a Literature Review. (2014). Teaching and Learning Center University of Washington Tacoma. Retrieved from http://www.tacoma.uw. edu/sites/default/files/sections/TeachingandLearning Center/Lit%20Review 1.pdf
To help define the focus of your research topic.
To identify research already conducted in your field of interest, find gaps in existing scholarship, and avoid repetition of previous research.
To become familiar with significant earlier research and with current progress and/or controversy in your field of interest.
To diagnose the strengths and weaknesses in the works pertaining to your field of interest.
To assess the experts, theoretical approaches, methodologies, results, conclusions, and possible opportunities for future research in your field of interest.
Literature reviews and annotated bibliographies are highly useful for constructing your research project. Both provide an examination of relevant scholarly work pertaining to a specific topic, but there are also significant differences between them.