The steps below look sequential. However, doing a literature review is often an iterative process. That is, you may “circle back" to redo or modify earlier steps. You may also be working on a number of steps at the same time.
Ask yourself: What is my central question or issue that the literature can help define? What is already known about the topic?
Ask yourself: Where will I find information? (Library databases? Google Scholar? Special digital or physical collections specific to your discipline?)
Ask yourself: What is the scope of the search? How broadly or narrowly should I search? (Hint: Check out Boston College Libraries' excellent guide on literature review scope.)
Ask yourself: What connections can be made between the texts? Is there a conflict or debate in the literature?
Ask yourself: How will reviewing the literature justify the topic I plan to investigate?
Acknowledgements: This page contains information adapted from Irene Clark's book Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007), pp. 110-111; and from librarian Paul Fehrmann's "Literature Reviews" guide on the Kent State University Libraries website.