3 Literature reviews
Whether it be a thesis or a paper, it is normal practice to begin with a literature review. The aims of these reviews can vary, however, and how they are tackled depends upon their purpose. Literature reviews can:
• show the history of a field; • review the work done in a specific time period – for example ‘The
annual review of . . .’; • plot the development of a line of reasoning; • integrate and synthesise work from different research areas; • evaluate the current state of evidence for a particular viewpoint; • reveal inadequacies in the literature and point to where further research
needs to be done.