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Literature Review Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of the Literature Review Challenge!

Today we will look at the:

  • Importance of a literature review for your field and for you professionally
  • Difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography

What is a Literature Review?

Before continuing, think about what a literature review is.

  1. Why are they important? Where have you seen them before? Have you written one?
  2. How are they different from other research papers? How are they different from an annotated bibliography?

pointing fingerWatch the video below from North Carolina State University Library and review the box "Research states..." 
Then complete the Day 1 ACTIVITY

Research States...

A literature review describes research on your topic. 

  • It is not a pro/con paper, so be sure to include all scholarly perspectives
  • It is not just a description of your topic, but rather what themes you notice in others' research on your topic, such as:
    • Methodology typically used
    • How key words are defined by prior studies
    • How are the various sources connected?
  • Be sure to include even outliers. For example: If you find that most studies on your topic are surveys but you find a longitudinal study do not discount it!

Your literature review should be able to finish this sentence:

  • Research on this topic can be characterized by _________________.


To put this in practice, notice how a literature review looks in a published article. The lit review will always come before the method section because the purpose of the lit review is to demonstrate the need for the current study.

MacKinnon, C. J., Smith, N. G., Henry, M., Milman, E., Berish, M., Farrace, A., Körner, A., Chochinov, H. M., & Cohen, S. R. (2016). A Pilot Study of Meaning-Based Group Counseling for Bereavement. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying72(3), 210–233.

pointing finger


Open the article (linked below), read the beginning (stop at the method section). Consider these questions:


  1. Does this article start with an introduction or a literature review?  
  2. According to these authors, how is research on grief group counseling characterized?
              Research on this topic can be characterized by -----------------" 
  3. Why are literature reviews important to you professionally?  Think beyond passing classes or writing dissertations--why are they important to you after you graduate?