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This research guide is a resource for students studying biology at WCC

What is a Literature Review?

In Research Articles 

What is a literature review?
Rather than describing original research results, literature reviews summarize the research on a particular topic by synthesizing information from many primary sources.

Why should I read literature reviews?
Review articles can be helpful for gathering background information and identifying key articles in a particular field.

How can I find a literature review?
Many library databases, including Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed, allow you to filter search results to include only "review articles" or "literature reviews."  

For Class Assignments 

In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research.

Source: The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue. (n/a). What is a literature review? Purdue University. Writing a Literature Review // Purdue Writing Lab


Literature Review Video

To better understand what is a literature review, watch the video from the NC State University Libraries. 

Watch Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students 00:09:37


Source: NC State University Libraries(n.a.) Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students. Retrieved from