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Finding, Understanding and Conducting Research Studies

Definition

"A literature review is typically the section of a research paper, dissertation or thesis that considers the writing that other authors have already produced on the topic" ("Literature Review," 2011).

Basically, a literature review is a section of a paper (though sometimes it will be an entire article) where a researcher picks a topic, sees what is written about it, and analyzes and synthesizes the findings. They are somewhat similar to systematic reviews in that they are reviewing literature, but they lack the strict inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Finding Literature Reviews

Unlike other articles that have specific limiters to narrow down to a specific type of research, literature reviews are best found by adding a search term of literature review to your search string. See example below:

sleep AND intervention AND literature review

As mentioned above, many articles only have a literature review section, which is separate from the introduction to the research study that they are carrying out. However, you can occasionally find an article where the entirety of the article is a literature review. 

References

Literature review. (2011). In P. Stokes, Palgrave Key concepts: Key concepts in business and management research methods. Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

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