Literature reviews can be stand-alone documents, or they can form part of a research proposal or project. A stand-alone literature review aims to summarise and evaluate the current knowledge of a specific topic, whereas a literature review that forms part of a research proposal or project also describes the gaps in the current knowledge that the project aims to address. This module is intended as an introductory guide to writing stand-alone literature reviews. A graduate literature review module is also available in the graduate research and writing section of the Research and Learning Online site. The graduate literature review module is particularly useful if you are writing a literature review that forms part of a research project, including an Honours, Master by Research or PhD project.
The stand-alone literature review
How to write a PhD literature review | James Hayton's PhD advice website
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Wrestling an elephant into a cupboard: how to write a PhD literature review in nine easy steps
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These are very common questions because there are no clear or consistent guidelines on exactly how much you need to put into your literature review. But the fact that there are no clear guidelines tells you something about the nature of literature reviews. It tells you that these are the wrong questions to ask and that if you want to write a good review, the length might not be the most important thing. Sometimes, adding more content to any chapter of your thesis can make it weaker. By adding references just to bulk out the chapter, whether or not you have anything interesting to say about them, you can end up diluting the good stuff.