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Computer Science

Computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, data science, machine learning, programming languages, computer systems and networks, software design, information systems, enterprise information systems, user experience.

What is a literature review?

A literature review is a survey and critical analysis of what has been written on a particular topic, theory, question or method.

What is its purpose?

  • justify your research
  • provide context for your research
  • ensure that the research has not been done before
  • highlight flaws in previous research
  • identify new ways, to interpret and highlight gaps in previous research
  • signpost a way forward for further research
  • show where your research fits into the existing literature

Finding the gaps and advances in your area

Literature review resources

Books and other resources for approaches and methods on doing a literature review. See the Literature reviews guide.

Original research vs review articles

Original research

Original research articles are based on an experiment or a study of a topic. They include a methodology section if an experiment was set up and conducted, a results or discussion section, and a conclusion.

A “Review Article"

Review articles are written to bring together and summarise the results or conclusions from many original research articles or studies. They do not usually contain a methodology section, but they will contain very extensive bibliographies.

Annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography provides:

  • a list of references presenting a brief summary of the main arguments or ideas of each resource.
  • a critique or evaluation of the resource's usefulness, reliability, objectivity or bias
  • a reflection on how the resource fits into your research.