A literature review is a synthesis of existing research on a particular topic or in a particular field. Before you start a research paper, it is beneficial to begin with a literature review. Good literature review articles offer the reader an up-to-date understanding of the current status of research and reveal to the reader what knowledge and ideas have been established and investigated. If you want to find out the key articles on a given topic, review articles are virtual gold mines. When you read and thoroughly digest a good review article, you become relatively well-versed about a given topic, including the current debates, contestations, consensus and problem areas, major players/contributors, research methodologies, etc.
Where to find good review articles? Start with Annual Reviews. These volumes are published every year for 40 focused disciplines within the biomedical, life, physical, and social sciences including economics. Annual Review articles are comprehensive and timely, written by leading scholars and scientists who critically examine the most significant primary research literature to guide you to the principal contributions of the field and help you stay current in your area of research.
Review articles can also be found in the core databases and indexes of each discipline. Future blog posts will discuss how to conduct a comprehensive literature review for a specific subject.