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What Is a Lit Review

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Essay title: What Is a Lit Review

What is the Literature Review

* A literature review IS:

o A select list of available resources and materials with a strong relation to the topic in question, accompanied by a description AND a critical evaluation and comparative analysis of each work.

The literature review is not merely a list of every item and resource with any possible relation to your topic, no matter how tenuous. It focuses on those resources and materials that are directly relevant to the addressing of your topic, and as such, is highly selective.

Each resource should be accompanied by a short description and a critical evaluation. For more about critical evaluation and comparative analysis, please see this guide's section on critical analysis of materials. [1]

o Focused on a particular question or area of research.

The literature review is not a widespread, comprehensive list of all materials pertaining to a particular discipline or field of inquiry. Rather, it's narrowly focused to concentrate only on truly relevant materials. For example, a literature review of materials on Margaret Sanger's role in the struggle to make contraception readily available to women in the United States, written for the Women's Studies department, will focus on Sanger's life, writings, works and activism, the historical and social setting of her life and works, and the various theoretical approaches to the study of her life and works. It will not include materials on the history of women's rights or feminism in the United States in general, unless those materials have strong relevance to Sanger's work.

o A select list of available, relevant resources and materials available in any and all formats.

A good literature review is not limited to dissertations, books and journal articles, but may include web pages, film and video, maps (if applicable), United States and international government documents, photographs, book reviews, and materials in many other formats and categories. The material's relevance to your research question is what's important, not the format.

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* A literature review IS NOT:

o A summary of available materials without any critical description or component; or

o An annotated bibliography.

* The differences between an annotated bibliography and a literature review:

o Differences in PURPOSE:

+ A literature review makes a case for further investigation and research, highlighting gaps in knowledge and asking questions that need to be answered for the betterment of the discipline; as such, its contents are selected to make the case.

+ An annotated bibliography is a list of what's available in a given field, accompanied by a short

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