Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How to do a Literature Review: Getting Started

This guide explains and shows a range of resources and steps for developing, managing, and completing literature reviews.

Literature Reviews: Common Errors made When Conducting a Literature Review (January 23, 2015)

Credo Reference

Research Quick Tips

We consider Credo Reference our academic Google.  This is a good resource to use for background information. Credo will assist you in finding:

1. Research questions to your conclusion

2. Relevant sources

3. Popular research topics

4. Help when your topic is too broad and ... more


Credo's Reference explanation of the Literature Review




Importance of a Literature Review

A literature review is important because it:

  • Explains the background of research on a topic.
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area.
  • Helps focus your own research questions or problems
  • Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
  • Suggests unexplored ideas or populations
  • Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
  • Tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.
  • Identifies critical gaps, points of disagreement, or potentially flawed methodology or theoretical approaches.
  • Indicates potential directions for future research.

A Literature Review is NOT

...  an annotated bibliography in which you summarize each article that you have reviewed.  A literature review goes beyond basic summarizing to focus on the critical analysis of the reviewed works and their relationship to your research question.

Not a research paper where you select resources to support one side of an issue versus another.  A lit review should explain and consider all sides of an argument in order to avoid bias, and areas of agreement and disagreement should be highlighted.