Literature review

What is it?

Your literature review will describe, analyse, summarise and evaluate research on a particular topic. You will also put forward a conclusion - based on your analysis of those studies.

How to write one

First, develop a plan. It will make your search more efficient.


  • What is your angle on the topic?
  • How many sources will you need?
  • What are the subheadings you need to cover?

Once you’ve got a focus, it’s time to start researching and compiling your review.

  1. Read and complete the activities available on our Learn pages to learn how to find, access, and evaluate resources for your literature review.
  2. Visit academic skills for tips on the writing process.
  3. Get familiar with the Deakin referencing guide. It breaks down everything you need to know for your citations and reference lists. You can also use reference management tools like Endnoteto keep track of your sources.

What are the assessors looking for?

As a general rule, your literature review should:

  • Show that you understand the topic and why it is important.
  • Demonstrate your ability to access relevant and current literature in the field.
  • Objectively evaluate research and highlight trends in the area.
  • Provide an overview of the topic with clear and justified links to your conclusion.

For more specific details, like word count and referencing style, check your unit guide and speak with your tutor or lecturer.

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