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Education: Literature Review

Use this guide for help in your education courses and assignments.

Literature Reviews Defined

A literature review:

  • Is a survey of the published, peer-reviewed research on a specific topic.
  • May include scholarly journal articles, books, conference proceedings, and dissertations.
  • Summarizes, evaluates, and analyzes this previously published research.
  • Identifies trends and opportunities for further research  within the topic.
  • Doesn't present any new research.

Peer-Review and Literature Reviews

Literature reviews and the research they review are both published in peer-reviewed/scholarly journals.

Peer-review is defined as:  

  • a process by which something proposed (as for research or publication) is evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field. (Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peer%20review)

In simple terms, a peer-reviewed article is an article that was carefully evaluated by a group of specialists to make sure that the information in the article is correct. Your professors prefer that you use peer-reviewed articles in your research because they have been verified to have valid information. 

Recommended Databases for Peer-Reviewed Education Articles

Search Tips:

In the Professional Development Collection database, you can choose "literature review" on the search screen, under "Limit Your Results and Document Type".

In the other Education databases, use "literature review" as an additional search term, along with your topic.