A literature review summarises and analyses the literature you have found through your research. In a literature review, the literature itself is the subject of discussion. The aim of a literature review is to show your tutor that you have read, and have a good grasp of, the main published work concerning a particular topic or question in your field.
A literature review is not a straightforward summary of everything you have read on a topic. It is an evaluative analysis of what has been discovered in your field. The review should describe, summarise, evaluate and clarify this literature.
You can make a start on your review by identifying what you need to know to inform your research:
A You Tube video by the University of Derby explaining what is a literature review
For your assignments, projects and dissertations you will need to perform a literature search. A literature search is a well thought out, organised search and evaluation of literature available on a topic.
A well-structured literature search is the most effective and efficient way to locate sound evidence on the subject you are researching. 'Literature' can include journal articles, newspaper articles, official publications, conference proceedings, archives, book chapters etc.
To research efficiently, all searches should involve analysis, planning and using reliable sources. You should think about the following when planning your search strategy:
There are a number of different types of resources you can search and what you choose depends on your research topic. Here are some suggestions below:
Detailed information on conducting a search and maximising your strategy can be found in our Library Guides:
If you need further guidance on how to evaluate your research literature you can arrange a one-to-one appointment with your subject librarian.
A short video tutorial on evaluating journal articles
See below for the transcript.
If you need help with practical skills to help you with your projects and dissertations you can contact the Academic Learning Support Team.
They aim to help develop your skills so that you can learn more effectively.
The range of help includes:
They offer one-to-one academic skills tutorials, by appointment, to all City students.
In addition, group workshops are held throughout the year on range of study skills topic. These sessions are open to all students.
You can find out more about making appointments and workshops times on the Learning Support webpages.