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University of Wollongong Australia

Literature Review: Literature review

Help for academics

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

    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

Writing up


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