Topic : Network Planning and Supply Contracts
What is a literature review?
“A literature review discusses published information in a particular subject area, and sometimes
information in a particular subject area within a certain time period.
A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an
organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the
important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that
information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old
interpretations. Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates.
And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the
reader on the most pertinent or relevant.”[i]
How is a literature review different from an academic research paper?
“The main focus of an academic research paper is to develop a new argument, and a research
paper will contain a literature review as one of its parts. In a research paper, you use the literature
as a foundation and as support for a new insight that you contribute. The focus of a literature
review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without
adding new contributions.”[ii] The academic research paper also covers a range of sources, but it is usually a select number of sources, because the emphasis is on the argument. Likewise, a
literature review can also have an “argument,” but it is not as important as covering a number of sources. In short, an academic research paper and a literature review contain some of the same elements. In fact, many academic research papers will contain a literature review section. But it
is the aspect of the study (the argument or the sources) that is emphasized that determines what type of document it is.
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Why write literature reviews?
“Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time
to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone. For
professionals, they are useful reports that keep them up to date with what is current in the field.
For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the
writer in his or her field. Literature reviews also provide a solid background for a research
paper’s investigation. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most
research papers.”[iii]
What is the format for literature reviews?
“Just like most academic papers, literature reviews also must contain at least three basic
elements: an introduction or background information section; the body of the review containing
the discussion of sources; and, finally, a conclusion and/or recommendations section to end the
 Introduction: Gives a quick idea of the topic of the literature review, such as the central
theme or organizational pattern.
 Body: Contains your discussion of sources and is organized thematically.
 Conclusions/Recommendations: Discuss what you have drawn from reviewing literature
so far. Where might the discussion proceed?”[iv]
What is a thematic literature review?
“Thematic reviews of literature are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression
of time.”


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