Literature reviews provide a critical summary of the relevant literature of a subject. To write a literature review is to discover the patterns that emerge within the body of work devoted to a specific issue, and to establish an evidentiary basis of common thought and current questions about that subject at the given moment.
"Good review papers ... help bring structure and understanding to the often disjointed and contradictory work that is at the forefront of a research field." (Moldwin et al, 2017)
You must first decide the type of review. The specifics of the review process will vary, which is determined by your intention in writing one:
Once you have established your goals, you can proceed with your plan.
Whether you are writing a review section or full article, the process you follow will be similar, though the degree to which you collect and read the literature will vary based on what you're working on.
Moldwin, M. B., Florindo, F., Okin, G., et al. (2017). Why and how to write a high‐impact review paper: Lessons from eight years of editorial board service to Reviews of Geophysics. Reviews of Geophysics, 55, 860–863. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017RG000587
*Webster, J., & Watson, R. (2002). "Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a literature review." MIS Quarterly 26(2), xiii-xxiii.
A collaboration by the Writing and Communications Center and the Library, Nov. 2023.
Find the recording and slides on Panopto (see link below).
They can be useful not just for their bibliographies, which can provide citations you might need for your own review, but also for the structure and method of the review itself.
Similarly, if you're writing a thesis or dissertation, consider looking for those done by previous students to get a similar idea of what will be expected of you.
Search for your topic and limit to review papers.
Look through collections of reviews.
The database below will give you immediate access to the recent work of Stevens students/alumni; if you'd ever like to read a thesis or dissertation that's only in print, email Ted Houghtaling for more help.