The aim of a literature review is to show "that the writer has studied existing work in the field with insight" (Haywood and Wragg, 1982). It will enable you to:
As can be seen from the purposes above, the literature review is an exploration of an area, which at best will provide definition and a framework for a piece of research. Most students are not experts in their chosen field before they start their reading. The idea of the literature review is to develop a good working knowledge of the research in a particular area. The final written review should reflect the results of this preliminary research. So, a good literature review raises questions and identifies areas to be explored. The review should give an idea of the work that has been carried out in the subject area, preparing the reader for the study that is to follow.
You need to view the work of others with insight to review critically. As described by Caulley (1992), an effective review analyses and synthesises material, and it should meet the following requirements: