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Bioinformatics Research Guide

Use this guide to find UNO library resources and other helpful research tools.

More on Lit Reviews

Looking for even more information on Literature Reviews? Check out the UNO Criss Library Research Guide for Literature Reviews below.

Conducting a Lit Review - UNO Libraries Workshop

What is a literature review?

Purposes of the Literature Review

  • Delimit the research problem
  • Avoid fruitless approaches
  • Identify avenues of future research
  • Seek new lines of inquiry
  • Gain methodological insight

Reasons for conducting a Literature Review

  • Distinguishing what has been done from what needs to be done
  • Discovering important variables relevant to the topic
  • Synthesizing and gaining new perspective
  • Identifying relationships between ideas and practices
  • Establishing the context of the topic
  • Rationalizing the significance of the problem
  • Enhancing and acquiring subject vocabulary
  • Understanding the structure of the subject
  • Relating ideas and theory to applications
  • Identifying main methodologies and research techniques that have been used
  • Placing research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-art development


Adapted from Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. London: Sage. As cited in Randolph, Justus. “A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review.” Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 14(13), p. 2.

Questions to ask yourself

When conducting your literature review, think about the following questions:

  • What is the overarching question or problem your literature review seeks to address?
  • How much familiarity do you already have with the field? Are you already familiar with common methodologies or professional vocabularies?
  • What types of strategies or questions have others in your field pursued?
  • How will you synthesize or summarize the information you gather?
  • What do you or others perceive to be lacking in your field?
  • Is your topic broad? How could it be narrowed?
  • Can you articulate why your topic is important in your field?

Not a Lit Review

A Literature Review is not:

  • Just a summary of sources or annotated bibliography
  • A grouping of broad, unrelated sources
  • A compilation of everything that has been written on a particular topic (you won't find it all anyway!)
  • Literature criticism or a book review

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