Literature Searching vs. Literature Review
You may hear about conducting a literature search and literature review inter-changeably. In general, a literature search is the process of seeking out and identifying the existing literature related to a topic or question of interest, while a literature review is the organized synthesis of the information found in the existing literature.
In research, a literature search is typically the first step of a literature review. The search identifies relevant existing studies and articles, and the review is the end result of analyzing, synthesizing, and organizing the information found in the search.
When writing a research paper, the literature review gives you a chance to:
- Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
- Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
- Show how your research addresses a knowledge gap or contributes to a debate
- Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.
Baker, J. D. (2016). The Purpose, Process, and Methods of Writing a Literature Review. AORN Journal, 103(3), 265–269.
Patrick, L. J., & Munro, S. (2004). The Literature Review: Demystifying the Literature Search. The Diabetes Educator, 30(1), 30–38.