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Human Development and Family Sciences: What is a Literature Review?

Research in family studies

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. 

Key Points:

  • The "literature" refers to the collected body of scholarly works (most often scholarly books and academic journal articles) related to a topic.
  • Reviewing the literature helps to: gather ideas or information related to the topic, keep up to date on current trends or major findings, develop new research questions.
  • A literature review can be a section of a larger research paper or a type of scholarly paper where the entire purpose is to summarize and analyze the literature on a topic.