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N539 - Literature Reviews

Purpose of a Literature Review

In general, literature reviews may be written to
 
identify a research problem;
clarify research questions;
identify the research method best suited to a topic;
identify and give an overview of major themes, relationships, or patterns found in the literature on a certain topic;
identify the strengths and weaknesses in the literature on a certain topic; and / or
identify any gaps in the literature on a certain topic. 
 
(From LC Guide: Literature Reviews)
 
There are 2 general categories of literature reviews: 
 
  1.  Review of literature that is conducted before a larger research study is conducted (Narrative or Traditional Reviews)
  2.  Comprehensive and systematic review of the literature which serves as a type of research study independently (Knowledge Syntheses)