Skip to main content
University of Wollongong Australia

Literature Review: Literature review

    Literature review

Literature review process: literature search - identify topic or interest - generate related questions - state unsolved problems - find or develop solution - document results
Image: adapted from Reed, L 1998 'Performing a literature review': Proceedings of the 28th Annual Frontiers in Education - Vol. 1 , IEEE Computer Society, Washing D.C., accessed 01/12/09

A literature review is conducted in the beginning stages of your research, and is usually written up as a document or chapter by the same title. It requires a commitment to searching a range of information sources.


  • Provides context for your research hypothesis or question.
  • Attempts to ensure the research has not already been published.
  • Identifies where your research fits into the existing body of literature.
  • Highlights strengths and weaknesses in any previous relevant research.
  • Creates an opportunity for the author to make recommendations for further research.


Recording and managing information


Keep in mind

There are many points to consider when writing a literature review. Here are a few to discuss with your supervisor.

Is the literature review:

  • using current literature and referring to landmark papers?
  • commenting on the theoretical position of the author?
  • sufficiently informed by the research hypothesis?
  • sufficiently theme-based?
  • structured according to the issues?
  • overly chronological?
  • critically linking existing research, rather than describing it?

Help for academics


Other guides

Useful resources on writing a literature review

    UOW Library  |  Subject readings  |  A-Z journals  |  A-Z databases  |  Copyright  |  Research Online

    Borrowing information | Connect to wireless | Print, copy & scan

    Ask us  |  Tell us