A literature review is a survey and critical analysis of what has been written on a particular topic, theory, question or method.
"In writing the literature review, the purpose is to explore what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, what approaches and viewpoints have been adopted, and what are their strengths and weaknesses."
Focus and frame. (2008). In Eriksson, P. & Kovalainen, A. Introducing Qualitative Methods: Qualitative methods in business research (pp. 44). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9780857028044
The type of literature review you do will depend on a variety of factors:
The requirements of narrative literature reviews are usually quite different than systematic reviews. However, you may be required to adopt some of the characteristics of a systematic approach when doing your literature review. Check the guidelines or criteria that have been set by your supervisor so you know what is expected of you.
|Scope||Presents the significant literature, or a sample of the literature, on a topic||A comprehensive, systematic search for all the relevant literature on a topic must be conducted|
|Search strategy||Search strategy does not have to be included||Details of the search strategy are included|
|Inclusion/exclusion criteria||The criteria for selecting what literature to include does not have to be documented||Inclusion/exclusion criteria for selecting the literature is documented and defined in advance|
|Quality and methodology||The quality and methodology of the literature may not affect the decision to include it||Comprehensive assessment of the quality and methodology of each study is conducted to decide on inclusion|
|Presentation of included literature||A summary of the included literature is provided||A synthesis of the findings of all the included studies is provided|
|Interpretation||The reviewer’s own beliefs may influence their interpretation of the findings||The reviewer must present an unbiased, objective interpretation of the findings|
Get an overview on doing a literature review: