Also called Literature Review

Difference between a Literature Review and an Annotated Bibliography

  • Annotated bib - written for writer, alphabetically organized
  • Lit review - written for reader, topically organized

When you write the review:

  • Gather, summarize - writer based
  • Analyze, synthesize - reader based
    • Compare
    • Historicize

Find a model(s)


  • To know what research has been done on your topic
  • To know what you are studying/researching, what your question/focus is
  • To determine how you are contributing to the research field, how are you joining the conversation
  • To give the reader a broader context to understand what you are doing
  • To show you know what's going on in the field/conversation