Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

CE/ECE/ME Engineering Senior Design Project

Library guide Libguide for Engineering Senior Design Project

Purposes of a literature review

  • Gives the historical background of your research
  • Describes the current debates  issues and questions in the field
  • Situates the current context of your research and how it relates to the field
  • Discusses the relevant theories and concepts which underpin your methodology and research
  • Introduces the relevant terminology and provides definitions to clarify how those terms are used in your research
  • Shows how your research extends or challenges previous research in your filed
  • Addresses and identifies the gaps in knowledge that exist in your field
  • Provides evidence of the significance and usefulness of your research  

What is a literature search

 A literature search is a systematic discovery of text to inform and propel further research for knowledge creation.

  • A literature search both answers and gives rise to questions
  • A literature search is a process that is iterative and ongoing - not an isolated action
  • A literature search must result in you becoming familiar with a body of knowledge.
    • know the terminology of your research topic
    • know foundational articles of your research topic
    • know the researchers of your research topic
    • know the important journals of research topic
    • know some of the unanswered questions of your research topic
  • A literature research looks at different types of information sources: books, articles, chapters, and thesis & dissertations
  • A literature search must be comprehensive: do not use just one search tool or database
  • A literature search must uncover the relationships between documents, knowledge, and people
  • The literature search becomes the basis for future searching
  • Searching only improves after you have read and reflected on what you have found previously.
  • Comprehensive searching requires that you adjust and modify your searching based on results
  • A one shot search is inadequate for comprehensive literature review


Finding the relationships

Literature review process reading writing  searching------

Taken from The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students by Diana Ridley 

p. 81