What a Literature Review is Not

What a Literature Review is Not


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The Literature Review is not a chronological catalog of all of the sources you found that relate to your research topic and question. Such a catalog is more along the lines of an annotated bibliography (see Pre-Assignment Part #2) and not a Literature Review. Rather, it is an evaluation, integrating the previous research together, and also explaining how it integrates into the proposed research program. All sides of an argument must be clearly explained, to avoid bias, and areas of agreement and disagreement should be highlighted.


It is not a collection of quotes and paraphrasing from other sources. A good literature review should also have some evaluation of the quality and findings of the research.


A good literature review should avoid the temptation of impressing the importance of a particular research program. The fact that you are undertaking the research program suggests that it is important. However, readers of your research need to be given the opportunity to judge the importance of your research for themselves. You want to show that your research is a serious academic endeavour and not pseudo-science. The literature review shows that your research is based on sound, peer reviewed, research and that you have taken the time and effort to justify the importance of conducting this research.

Steps to writing a Literature Review

  • Decide on a Topic (you have completed this step)
  • What is your area of interest?
  • What are you looking to explore with this research?
  • Research Question (you have completed this step)
    • Develop a specific research question that you want to attempt to answer with your research.
  • Research
    • Find sources relevant to your research question and topic.
    • Read the resources and note the main points, findings, conclusions, methodology employed, and strength/weaknesses of the research design.
    • See the Literature Review Matrix that you completed in Pre-Assignment #2.
  • Analyze and Evaluate
    • Assess how each source (academic article) relates to other research within the field/related to your research topic.
    • Group the sources by theme, topic, methodology, and findings. Note that a source may be grouped into more than one area as each will have its own theme, methodology, and findings.
    • Critically evaluate the research. Where is there consensus? Where do the sources disagree? Are there any gaps in the literature? What has been “researched enough?”
  • Develop your Thesis Statement
    • The thesis statement should contain the overarching focus for your literature review as well as the main supporting points you found in the literature.
    • You will present your thesis statement in your Introduction (Chapter 1) however, you need to do the literature review in order to develop your thesis statement.
    • Use your research question as a guide for the literature review. Once you have completed your literature review use it to refine your research question and develop your thesis statement.

Writing the Literature Review

  • Use an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Include the following:
  • Summary – state the argument and main points of relevant research. Show where there is agreement and disagreement in the literature.
  • Synthesis – Combine ideas in order to form an integrated theory or system through critical evaluation, compare/contrast, etc.
  • Analysis – Examine the elements or structure of the research. Interpret these in the context of the field of study.
  • Evaluation – Assess the research based on criteria you choose. State and explain the current research/what we know and what we don’t.
  • Critique – Clarify any ambiguities in the literature, outline any contradictions in the literature. Critically analyze the literature.
  • Use APA format
  • The minimum expected number of references is 30 to 40 academic articles. Industry articles may be used to support the academic literature but are in addition to the minimum expected number of references.

Video #2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoYpyY9n9YQ

Is the research WEAK OR STRONG?

Is the research USEFUL OR USELESS?

Is the research GOOD OR BAD?


Reseasch Question 

How do employees and customers perceive the impact that Covid-19 has had on sustainable technological innovation in hotels?”


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