Literature review

Literature reviews are a way of identifying what is already known about a research area and what the gaps are. To do a literature review, you will need to identify relevant literature, often through searching academic databases, and then review existing literature. Most often, you will do the literature review at the beginning of your research project, but it is iterative, so you may choose to change the literature review as you move through your project.

Searching the literature

The University of Melbourne Library has some resources about searching the literature. Leonie spoke about how she met with a librarian about searching the literature. You may also want to meet face-to-face with a librarian or attend a class at the library to learn more about literature searching. When you search the literature, you may find journal articles, reports, books and other materials.

Filing, categorising and managing literature

In order to manage the literature you have identified through searches, you may choose to use a reference manager. The University of Melbourne has access to RefWorks and Endnote. Further information about accessing this software is available through the University of Melbourne Library.

Writing a literature review

The purpose of the literature review is to identify what is already known about a particular research area and critically analyse prior studies. It will also help you to identify any gaps in the research and situate your research in what is already known about a particular topic.


Begin your qualitative journey