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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