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PSY 400/401: Advanced General Psychology

A companion resource guide for students taking PSYC 400 and PSYC 401.

Term Paper

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review discusses published information in a particular subject area, and sometimes information in a particular subject area within a certain time period.

A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations. Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant.

Reproduced from The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The sections of a literature review usually include the following:

  • title page
  • abstract
  • introduction
  • body
  • conclusion
  • references 

NOTE: A literature review and an annotated bibliography are NOT the same thing. Please see the "Annotated Bibliography" page of this LibGuide for more information.





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