“Why you or other researchers need a literature review is rarely discussed, or when it is, it is quickly glossed over. With a full understanding about the purpose of a literature review, people are better able to accomplish them,” says Callie M. Rennison, researcher and public affairs professor at the University of Colorado Denver.
When done so successfully, literature reviews are integral to the research process. They can provide justification, context, and credibility for new studies. By writing a literature review, a researcher recognizes strengths that they want to replicate in their own studies and identifies limitations that need to be addressed and overcome. Additionally, reviews put new research topics into perspective by giving them context within the wider area of related research. Conducting a well-written literature review demonstrates understanding of the topic at hand, giving new findings credibility and supporting evidence.
View the infographic to learn why professors from around the country agree that a strong literature review is crucial for the foundation of an authoritative study. Then learn how to write one in nine basic steps, summarized by Rennison, co-author of SAGE textbook Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology.