A literature review (or review of the literature) critically evaluates and synthesizes the significant works (books, scholarly articles, dissertations, etc.) published on a particular issue, area of research, or theory.
Literature reviews often:
If you have a literature review assignment, first determine whether you need to find an existing review or write one of your own. This guide will help you find existing reviews. For more information about how to write a review, see the University of North Carolina Literature Reviews guide.
There are two main types of literature reviews ranging from selective to comprehensive.
For more information, see the video below.
Your strategy for finding literature reviews may vary based on the type of review you are hoping to find.
Some databases have built-in options to help you find literature reviews. To find stand-alone reviews, try these steps:
The majority of scholarly journal articles include a literature review of some sort. To find these:
Dissertations typically include extensive literature reviews. Search for these in the Dissertations & Theses database.
If you are unsuccessful, try the strategies in the Additional Tips section below.