Writing a Literature Review

Writing a literature review can feel like a daunting task, but the library has many resources to help you! Before you begin, however, it is important to understand what is meant by "literature review." The UC Santa Cruz library provides a useful definition:

Not to be confused with a book review, a literature review surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources (e.g. dissertations, conference proceedings) relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic.

Your literature review is a process as well as a product . The process of reviewing the literature includes finding, reading, and making connections among a wide variety of publications on a topic. You will systematically review the key scholarly articles, books, dissertations, reports, government documents, and other sources relevant to your area of research. In other words, these publications comprise the literature that you will review . Your written review will therefore consist of summarizing and synthesizing these sources.

Books @ Bryant

  • Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Jose L. Galvan, 2013. H61.8 .G34 2013 (Reserve)
  • The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success. Lawrence A. Machi & Brenda T. McEvoy, 2012. LB1047.3 .M33 2012 (Ready Reference)
  • Conducting Research Literature Reviews. Arlene Fink, 2010. Q180.55.M4 F56 2010 (Reserve)
  • The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students. Diana Ridley, 2012. LB2369 .R525 2012 (Ready Reference)
  • Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook. David Silverman, 2013. H62 .S55 2010

Online Guides & Resources

Finding the Literature

  • Bryant Library Catalog | Search for books, e-books, scholarly articles, films, and more. Order materials from other libraries via Interlibrary Loan.
  • Research Guides by Subject | Find subject-specific database recommendations, relevant websites, and additional research help.
  • Ask A Librarian | Need help? Contact a librarian for research assistance!

Writing & Citing

  • Library Citation Guide | Resources for various citation styles, including APA, MLA, Chicago, ACS, and more. 
  • Bryant Writing Center | Consult with a writing tutor at any stage of your writing process, from brainstorming a topic to editing your final draft.



Bryant Logo


For further assistance, contact:
Mackenzie Dunn, Research & Instruction Librarian
(401) 232-6299 or IM a Librarian