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Writing a Literature Review: Home

This guide will help you write a Literature Review with the help of library resources, tips, and tricks.

Getting Started

This guide will help you successfully write a literature review and is updated frequently, so check back for more tips and resources. Try the Communication Resource Center for help writing, reading, & speaking.
Nursing students: Please visit the MSN Capstone LibGuides for more information on writing a literature review.

Finding Books: Writing a Literature Review

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Examples & Help

Need examples of literature reviews in academic writing?

Search TOPCAT for practice-based inquiry project to find the Master of Science in Nursing capstone project reports.

Search TOPCAT for Master's action research report to find the Master's Action Research Reports by Alverno's Masters of Arts graduates. Find the physical copies near the Research Assistance Desk, call numbers start with 001.4.

Relevant & Related LibGuides

Ebooks LibGuide - Downloads, tutorials, and other helpful information on making the most our ebooks.

Citing Sources - Is APA driving you crazy? We can help. 

What is a Literature Review (And what ISN'T it)?

A review of the literature:

  • Focuses on a specific topic
  • Compiles the research that has been published on the topic by scholars and experts
  • Provides background for the problem or puts the problem into historical perspective
  • Informs the reader about the current concepts and state of research on the topic and any controversies
  • Describes the pros and cons of particular studies and may suggest areas for future research
  • Organizes the citations thematically into a narrative

A review of the literature IS NOT:

  • A literary review, which describes and evaluates a specific book, poem, play, etc.
  • An exhaustive, alphabetical list of every work consulted in your research, nor a list of references cited
  • An annotated bibliography listing references and adding brief notes about the value of each source

Adapted from the Oscar Rennebohm Library at Edgewood College

Online Resources

Learn How to Write a Review of LiteratureThe Writing Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Literature Review: Bluford Library, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students (video)NCSU Libraries, North Carolina State University

Write a Literature ReviewUniversity Library, University of California - Santa Cruz

Writing the Literature Review (Part One): Step-by-Step Tutorial for Graduate Students (online tutorial)David Taylor, University of Maryland University College

Articles on Writing Literature Reviews

Price, B. (2009). Guidance on conducting a literature search and reviewing mixed literature. Nursing Standard, 23(24), 43-50.

Knopf, J. W. (2006). Doing a literature review. PS: Political Science & Politics, 39(1), 127-132.

Timmins, F., & McCabe, C. (2005). How to conduct an effective literature search. Nursing Standard, 20(11), 41-47.

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Need more resources? Visit the library's Citing Sources LibGuide.

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