Literature Review

A literature review is a concise summary based on the integration of reliable academic sources which at the end draws conclusions regarding the specific field of research. Example sources are quality academic articles, journals, and research papers. The number of sources and the structure of the review varies by field and need. Academic sources are articles, books, journals that are published and updated from time to time. These articles are for example on Google Scholar – a search engine designed for this purpose.

A quality literature review is one that contains an adequate amount of articles, recent publication dates, articles published in reputable journals, articles that have been cited a large number of times, the authors of which are students and graduates of leading universities in the world ranking (an accepted site for ranking universities in the world is Shanghai ).

In a well-done literature review, there is an assessment of the existing and most recent knowledge in the researched field; a critique of what is being researched in the field, where the field is headed, what the current review can innovate or contribute.
A literature review can be part of a larger research work (such as a seminar or thesis) and can be a paper in itself as a qualitative research method.
As a tool for acquiring reliable and up-to-date knowledge in the field

Below are guiding questions for creating a quality literature review:
1. What questions did the existing publications address? What issues have been neglected?
2. What are the main conclusions of the existing research? What do the studies actually claim?
3. What are the points of convergence in the literature, and what are the main disagreements? Where there are disagreements, what are the bases of the disagreements?
4. What theories and policies and evidence has the literature examined? What potentially relevant information and alternative theories or policies have not been explored?
5. How solid are the conclusions reached? Are they based on sound reasoning, careful evaluation of the evidence, and well-executed methodology? Or are there good reasons to doubt some of the existing conclusions?
6. What is the overall quality of the literature? What have we learned so far?
7. What are the most important issues and gaps that require further research?

Need help with your literature review? Academax is here to help you write an excellent review, after experience writing literature reviews in economics, social sciences, humanities, sciences, medicine and many other fields. We know how to find the best sources (even paid ones) to bring the best outcome for you


Knopf, J. W. (2006). Doing a literature review. PS: Political Science & Politics39(1), 127-132.‏

Jesson, J., Matheson, L., & Lacey, F. M. (2011). Doing your literature review: Traditional and systematic techniques, 10-16.‏