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ASH402/501 Research Skills Guide: Literature Review

Literature Review - What are you being asked to do?

In this assignment you are being asked to write a literature review on an education topic of your choice.


A literature review summarises, interprets and critically evaluates existing 'literature' (or published material) in order to establish current knowledge of a subject.

Why do a literature review?

  • To increase your breadth of knowledge of your subject area
  • To identify 'gaps' in the literature (or areas for you to add knowledge)
  • To avoid duplication of existing research
  • To highlight the key debates, terms and concepts used in your subject area
  • To expose you to the approaches, theories, research methods and sources used in your subject area

image of a lightbulbTip: Your literature review will give you a good working knowledge of the research in a particular area and raise questions and areas to be explored in your second assessment, a research proposal.


  • Books and ebooks will give you an overview, introduction, and/or background to your topic. You can find these using Primo Search.
  • Journal articles offer you the latest research and ideas on your topic, and examine aspects of your topic in very specific detail. You can find these in Journal DatabasesGoogle Scholar, and Primo Search.
  • Websites can be used to locate reports and documents from government, academic, or professional organisations.


For more information about writing a literature review, see the CSU Research Office's webpage on Academic Writing - Writing a Literature Review.

You may also find the following websites helpful when starting the writing process:

This YouTube video from USF Libraries provides a good overview of how to write a literature review.