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Literature Reviews

Now for the hard part - the writing!

A literature review is a purposeful kind of writing which should be:

  • Well argued.
  • Well supported by evidence.
  • Well documented.

Be aware of your audience.

  • Do not assume that your markers or reviewers know much about your specific narrow topic.
  • They may need to be reminded of some background and need you to signpost the importance of the various parts.

You should:

  • Write in a straightforward style - not too informal or formal.
  • Use clear and unadorned English appropriate for your audience.
  • Use the jargon of your discipline only when it is necessary. 

Source: "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham www.phdcomics.com

Differences between standalone literature reviews and those that are part of a larger body of work?

Both types of literature reviews should include:

  • What is already known in the research area
  • The characteristics of the key concepts/factors/variables
  • The relationships between the key concepts/factors/variables
  • The existing theories?
  • The shortcomings in our knowledge, understanding and methods
  • Views that need to be further tested

In addition to these, literature reviews that are part of a larger body of work should include:

  • What contribution my research is expected to make?

Examples of literature reviews

Literature review examples as part of a larger body of work.

Look at existing theses to see examples of literature reviews written as part of a larger work. You can find examples from JCU using the search box below or use the Trove search box to find Australian theses.

Online Only

From JCU Library Catalogue via One Search

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