C. The literature review

A good literature review synthesizes the research and presents an overview of the current level of understanding in a particular field to form the context for your research project. Once you have done an initial search of the literature to narrow down your ideas, it is time to conduct a more thorough review of the literature. Understanding the literature requires you to read, re-read, and think about complex ideas to help formulate a comprehensive review.

Literature reviews generally start with more general ideas and then become more specific. They usually start with an overview of the field and then funnel down into your specific research question. When discussing past research, the emphasis is on integration and interpretation of primary research articles by identifying key themes, trends, issues or comparisons. It is not simply a summary of each individual article. Below are some key components of the literature review.