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PSY309/469 Research Skills Guide: Literature reviews

What is the purpose or aim of the literature review?

A literature review is a concise summary of the research that has been done on a particular topic. The emphasis is on integration and interpretation of primary research articles.The purpose of a literature review is to paint a picture of the field's collective knowledge and research on a specific topic while highlighting where further research may need to be conducted.

In general, when starting a literature review you will need to do the following:

  • define and write down your research question - what is it that you are going to research?
  • identify key words, terms and phrases - concept/mind maps can help tease out themes and keywords
  • identify synonyms
  • determine a timeframe from your research, if needed
  • consider what type material you will include and why
  • identify where you will search for the information

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