What is the purpose or aim of the literature review?
A literature review, as part of a thesis or for any other publication, should demonstrate your knowledge of what research has been conducted in the past and should place your research in the context of this work. A thesis is an original and significant piece of work that adds to the body of knowledge in a particular field. A literature review can have a number of purposes within a thesis. These include:
- demonstrating and clarify your understanding of your field of research;
- identifying patterns and trends in the literature;
- identifying gaps in the literature and seek new lines of inquiry;
- identifying similarities and differences in previous research and place you work in perspective;
- justifying your own research;
- increasing your breadth of knowledge of your subject area;
- identifying seminal and influential published works in your field;
- identifying relevant journals, publishers and conferences to search;
- providing the intellectual context for your own work, enabling you to position your project relative to other work;
- identifying experts working in your field (a researcher network is a valuable resource);
- carrying on from where others have already reached
Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Frels, R. (2016). 7 steps to a comprehensive literature review : a multimodal & cultural approach. London : Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.
Randolph, J. J. (2009) A guide to writing the dissertation literature review. Practical Assessment Research & Evaluation. 14(13) 1-13