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BIOL 483: Senior Thesis

This guide will help you locate resources to write a literature review.

Note To BIOL 483 Students!

Please consult your professor before using this site when proceeding with your thesis project.

What is a Literature Review?

If your professor sees your thesis as a literature review, please see the examples below:

A literature review is a "comprehensive study and interpretation of literature that addresses a specific topic" (Aveyard, 2010).

Reviews are generally conducted in one of two ways:

1) As a preliminary review before a larger study in order to critically evaluate the current literature and justify why further study and research is required.

In this case, the researcher must "systematically search, critique and combine the literature to demonstrate a gap in the existing research base" while demonstrating "their understanding of both the research and the methods previously used to investigate the area" (Aveyard, 2010).

2) As a project in itself that provides a comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular discipline or area of research over a specified period of time.

Sometimes referred to as a systematic literature review or meta-analysis, this type of literature review is a critical survey that attempts to "evaluate and interpret all available research evidence relevant to a particular question" (Glasziou, 2001).


Aveyard, Helen (2010). Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care : A Practical Guide (2nd Edition). Berkshire, Great Britain: Open University Press.

Glasziou, Paul (2001). Systematic Reviews in Health Care : A Practical Guide. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Suggested Books

Although not required for your course, you may find the following books useful as you complete your thesis: