Carnegie Mellon University

Related Work / Literature Review / Research Review

Download PDF Handout: Literature Reviews

Watch Video: Literature Reviews

A literature review, research review, or related work section compares, contrasts, synthesizes, and provides introspection about the available knowledge for a given topic or field. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably (as they are here), but while both can refer to a section of a longer work, “literature review” can also describe a stand-alone paper.

When you start writing a literature review, the most straightforward course may be to compile all relevant sources and compare them, perhaps evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. While this is a good place to start, your literature review is incomplete unless it creates something new through these comparisons. Luckily, our resources can help you do this!

With these resources, you’ll learn:

  • How to write a literature review that contributes rather than summarizes
  • Common mistakes to avoid
  • Useful phrases to show agreement and disagreement between sources

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Keywords: Literature review, synthesis, using sources, how to incorporate sources, adding sources or outside research, supporting argument