A literature review is a critical analysis of published sources, or literature, on a particular topic.
It is an assessment of the literature and provides a summary, classification, comparison and evaluation.
You must concentrate on publications that have influenced the field you are writing about.
Ensure that you use publications that are written by reputable authors.
This method of data organization is based on grouping different literature sources by their topic and theoretic concept in an order, defined by their relevance and importance. Many people insist that writing a review using this form of organization rather than a chronological one, helps a student make his review stronger because it requires you to analyze topics, theories, and concepts that are vital for your investigation. However, it will be wise to place the categories in a sequence starting from the most significant (broad) ones to those that are more specific to keep it clear and understandable.
It also requires you to include the explanation of why certain sources are linked to each other, which is usually done by means of providing a relevant title to every category. If you prefer to stick to a chronological method of data organization, you have to list your sources in a chronological order, for example, the date when each source was published. However, in some cases, it can be more appropriate.
In other words literature reviews are secondary sources, and as such, do not report any new or original experimental work.
Thus, a literature review is not descriptive but analytical in nature. It is important, however, that you select your sources carefully as you do not have to include everything that you have read on a topic.
Below are some examples of literature reviews written by ACAP students.
Use these to gain an understanding of the generic structure and language used when writing your own literature reviews.