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Conduct a literature review


This guide is for any student, staff member, or faculty member here at Oswego, but we think it will be most useful to upper level undergraduate students and graduate students! 

We recommend you ask your professor what kind of literature review they'd like you to complete (see information about types of literature reviews below).  

What is a literature review?

A literature review is a summary of important research on a particular topic

A literature review focuses on drawing connections between research studies, which means: 

  • Identifying studies that have built on previous research; 
  • Identifying studies that contradict previous research; and 
  • Identifying gaps and inconsistencies in the research. 

The act of drawing connections is what makes a literature review different from an annotated bibliography.

This video provides a great overview of literature reviews - it's about 10 minutes long: 

What do literature reviews look like?

There are three common types of literature reviews: 

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