What is a Literature Review? The Research Process usually begins with a thorough review of the literature. A literature review, as the name suggests, is a paper written to review the literature in a field of study. You may be asked to write a literature review as part of a larger work, such as a thesis or dissertation, or as a stand-alone project. In any case, your purpose in the review is to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of your field of study and an understanding of how your research fits into the larger picture. A literature review is not the same as an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is a listing of sources, each with a paragraph or more summarizing or analyzing that source. A literature review is written as an academic paper, with an introduction, body, and a conclusion. It may form the first part of a larger work, but it still must be part of a complete research paper.