A literature review summaries the knowledge of a particular area or field of study. A literature review may stand alone as an individual document in which the subject is analyzed for trends, controversial issues, and what still needs to be study; these "review articles" are valuable time-savers for professionals and researchers who need a quick introduction or analysis in that subject area.
Examples of review articles:
- Brady, J., & Allen, T. (2006). Six Sigma literature: A review and agenda for future research. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 22(3), 335-367. doi: 10.1002/qre.769
- Wedde, H.F., & Farooq, M. (2006). A comprehensive review of nature inspired routing algorithms for fixed telecommuication networks. Journal of Systems Architecture, 52(8), 461-484. doi: 10.1016/j.sysarc.2006.02.005
Literature reviews are also part of dissertations/theses, research reports and scholarly journal articles; these types of documentation include a literature review in a chapter/section that discusses what hs gone bfore and how that supports the issue under current study. Without a thoroguh literature review the academic may be repeating research that has already been discovered and the professional may be lising time and money to recreate from scrathch what is already available.
Expamples of items that contain a literature review as a part of the document:
- Vidal, R., Crainic, T.G., Gendreau, M., & Prins, C. (2013). A hybrid genetic algortihm with adaptive diversity managment for a large class of vehicle routing problems with time-windows. Computers & Operations Research, 40(1), 475. doi: 10.1016/j.cor.2012.07.018
- Ana Beatriz Lopes de Sousa Jabbour, Alceu Gomes Alves Filho, Adriana Backx Noronha Viana, & Charbel Jose Chiappetta Jabbour. (2011). Measuring supply chain management practices. Measuring Business Excellence, 15(2), 18-31. doi: 10.1108/13683041111131592
The research databases and searching techniques are the same for both types of literature reviews; however, how they are written and their purposes are different.