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Literature Reviews: Why are Literature Reviews Important

When & Why is a Literature Review Important

A literature review is crucial to academic writing as it refines topics, organizes and frames research questions. Although a literature review is usually called for when conducting research of one’s own for larger pieces of written works—such as a senior project or a dissertation—literature reviews can also be assigned as standalone pieces, e.g. publications or assigned for a class. A literature review also aids in gaining and developing the skills of information seeking (the ability to scan literature effectively) and critical appraisal (the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies). As the writer of the literature review, you must:

  • Give an overview of the main points of each source.
  • Analyze: Don’t solely paraphrase other researchers! Add your own interpretations and discuss the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole.
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources.
  • Keep your lit review structured: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.


Purdue University – Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Writing a Literature Review. Retrieved from: