Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is a Literature Review?
A literature review evaluates the existing scholarly research in a given topic. A literature review goes beyond a summary of the literature; it explains the relationship between previous studies and how they are related to your research.
Purpose of a Literature Review Per Bourner
Bourner (1996) stated that prior starting a research project one has to review the literature. He also provided the following reasons for conductiong a literature review:
- To identify gaps in the literature
- To avoid reinventing the wheel
- To carry on from where others have already reached
- To identify other people working in the same fields
- To increase your breadth of knowledge of your subject area
- To identify influential works in your area
- To provide the intellectual context for your own work, enabling you to position your project relative to other work
- To identify opposing views
- To put your work into perspective
- To demonstrate that you can access previous work in an area
- To identify information and ideas that may be relevant to your project
- To identify methods that could be relevant to your project
Bourner, T. (1996) The research process: four steps to success. In T. Greenfield (Ed.), Research methods: guidance for postgraduates (pp.7-11). London: Arnold.
Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students