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A literature review is a survey of research on a given topic. It allows you see what has already been written on a topic so that you can draw on that research in your own study. By seeing what has already been written on a topic you will also know how to distinguish your research and engage in an original area of inquiry.
Why do a Literature Review?
A literature review helps you explore the research that has come before you, to see how your research question has (or has not) already been addressed.
You will identify:
core research in the field
experts in the subject area
methodology you may want to use (or avoid)
gaps in knowledge -- or where your research would fit in
Search appropriate databases to identify articles on your topic.
Identify key publications in your area.
Search the web to identify relevant grey literature. (Grey literature is often found in the public sector and is not traditionally published like academic literature. It is often produced by research organizations.)
Scan article abstracts and summaries before reading the piece in full.
The once familiar APA 6th style has been replaced, as of 2020, with a 7th edition [Emergency temporary access available for this title]. The new style manual includes some significant changes to formatting papers and has attempted to make language more inclusive and bias free. Among some of the new changes:
DOIs are now formatted as URLs
Authors no longer need to include the phrase "Retrieved from" before a URL
The singular "they" is now endorsed by APA as a gender-neutral pronoun
The running head on the title page no longer includes the phrase "RUNNING HEAD" and is no longer needed in student papers at all
Use only one space after a period at the end of a sentence