Literature Reviews

So that means a literature review:

  • Discusses a broad topic addressing the entire body of knowledge within the field;
  • Summarizes and reviews existing research;
  • Does not represent the original work done by the authors of the review, but describes research designed and conducted by others.

There are generally two types of literature reviews:

Systematic Review

  1. Comprehensive report of all relevant research in one area;
  2. Identifies the literature and summarizes the findings;
  3. Can contain sections similar to a research paper such as Abstract and Conclusions.
    abstract conclusion


  1. Review of previously published data;
  2. Uses statistical methods to identify patterns in the data, such as sources of disagreements or other relationships;
  3. Contains a Methods section that can be easily confused with a research article. However, instead of describing the research subjects and a test like in a research article, the meta-analysis literature review will describe how the authors gathered the different studies they are writing about.


Protip: Just because you search for your subject and add “literature review,” does not mean your results will only contain literature reviews. The best way to ensure you have a literature review is to search for these features, read for yourself and use your critical thinking skills! If you’re still struggling, you can always ask your instructor or a librarian.

<<return to the PSY201 Instructional Session
 proceed to Searching Techniques tutorial for PSY201>>

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