Personal Financial Planning (Graduate)

Guide for Personal Financial Planning graduate students

Library Research Guide

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is:

  • a summary and evaluation of the significant research and/or theory published on a topic
  • organized in a way that analyzes, integrates, and shows the relationship between research studies, as well as the way each has contributed to an understanding of the topic
  • NOT just an annotated bibliography

The purpose of a literature review is to:

  • provide an overview of relevant literature, research, and methodology in an area of study
  • explore relationships among the prior research
  • evaluate the prior research
  • identify gaps and discrepancies in the literature
  • identify areas of controversy in the literature
  • make an argument for why further study of your research question is important to a field

It helps researchers:

  • establish the context and significance of the problem
  • discover appropriate subject vocabulary
  • discover prominent journals and authors on your topic
  • identify methodologies
  • identify what has been researched and where gaps may be foundunderused methodologies, designs, populations
  • focus your research topic

Structured Literature Reviews

Evidence Synthesis

Evidence synthesis refers to a range of methods, including systematic reviews, that researchers use to identify, analyze, and synthesize previous studies that investigate the same question or topic. The aim is to come to an overall understanding of the results of all the evidence available to answer a specific research question.