A literature review summarizes and synthesizes material on a research topic. It provides a summary of previous research and provides context for the material presented in your thesis. The literature review is your opportunity to show what you understand about your topic area, and distinguish previous research from the work you are doing. For example, your thesis may be building on an existing theory or model and extending it a new direction. It's important to provide context for your project by providing a roadmap to previous literature.
Purpose of a Literature Review
Identifies gaps in current knowledge
Helps you to avoid reinventing the wheel by discovering the research already conducted on a topic
Sets the background on what has been explored on a topic so far
Increases your breadth of knowledge in your area of research
Helps you identify seminal works in your area
Allows you to provide the intellectual context for your work and position your research with other, related research
Provides you with opposing viewpoints
Helps you to discover research methods which may be applicable to your work
Full cite: Grant, M. J. and Booth, A. (2009), A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26, 91–108. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x
Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students
This section adapted from The Literature Review, by Charles Stuart University Library. Available: https://libguides.csu.edu.au/review.