Advice leaflets originally produced for the Study Advice Service in the University of Hull, which holds the copyright:
When students are asked to 'do a Literature Review', they are sometimes confused. This may be because they are new to University life, and the Literature Review is not often seen as a suitable task in the schools or jobs from which they have come. It is sometimes because they are unclear as to what the task is, and why it is worth doing.
Undergraduate students - and post-graduates at the start of a course - may often be asked to do a Literature Review as an exercise, or part of their training. This may be only a "dummy run", a preparation for "the real thing" rather than of any direct value in itself, though all students should benefit from becoming more aware of the reading material available in their subject.
Postgraduate Theses and Dissertations should normally contain a Literature Review, as a subordinate part of the whole thing. Its object is connected with the whole nature of research.