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A literature review is both a reiterative process and an end product. This guide will focus on the literature review as an end product. As an end product, the literature review is a critical analysis of a specific body of knowledge that results in summarizing, classifying, and comparing research studies as well as theories. Elements of a literature review include an introduction, body, and conclusion. Reviewing and synthesizing theories/ideas, research methodologies, and study findings related to a research question are distinguishing characteristics of a literature review.
There are numerous reasons to conduct a literature review. A selective list reflecting the rationale behind the importance of conducting a literature review include:
Conducting a survey and critical analysis of what has been written on a particular subject or topic provides context as well as guideposts for how to proceed in conducting your research. As you identify and compile information for your literature review, it is helpful to seek out information discussing the: