Annotated Bibliographies & Literature Reviews

What is a literature review? What is it used for?

A literature review isn’t a book review—it’s a summary of information and analysis concerning a particular topic. Sources in a literature review are not restricted to scholarly articles and books; materials such as newspapers, government reports, and working papers can also be included. Consulting literature reviews is a helpful step before embarking on a research project, as they provide a large amount of relevant information in one resource. By writing a literature review, you will build a foundation for your research, introduce your question and clarify what your research will add to the field.

What do I need to write a literature review?

You’ll need several sources to draw on—whatever you’ve found that has been useful in your preliminary research process. Your instructor may provide a recommended range or at least a minimum number of sources to include.

How do I get started?

Every literature review is different. You’re adding a new perspective to the conversation and demonstrating where it fits among the perspectives that have some before. Organize your research by topic, argument, or however makes sense for your project—you can always ask your instructor for guidance, or schedule an appointment with a librarian.

Further Resources