82% of students who take a gap year, first of all, want to rest and take a step back from the academic field. So, if you are reading this article right now, you either have already enjoyed your time free from papers and research, or dismissed this opportunity not to waste months on understanding who you are and what you want to do with your life.
Anyway, all your decisions have led you to this point when you need to grasp the difference between the use of bibliography and literature review (yeah, students often get them confused while writing academic assignments). You have to get your bearings around these two notions in order not to mix them up and submit polished, flawless papers with all its parts completed correctly. Now let’s see what the fuss is all about….
A literature review paper is not an original publication. On occasion, a literature review will contain new data (from the author’s own laboratory) that have not yet appeared in a primary journal. However, the purpose of literature review paper is to review previously published literature and to put it into some kind of perspective.
A literature review paper is usually long, typically ranging between 10 and 50 printed pages. (Some journals now print short “minireviews.”) The subject is fairly general, compared with that of research papers. And the literature review is, of course, the principal product. However, the really good literature review papers are much more than annotated bibliographies. They offer critical evaluation of the published literature and often provide important conclusions based on that literature.
The organization of a literature review paper is usually different from that of a research paper. Obviously, the Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion arrangement cannot readily be used for the literature review paper. Actually, some literature review articles are prepared more or less in the IMRAD format; for example, they may contain a Methods section describing how the literature review was done.
If you have previously written research papers and are now about to write your first literature review, it might help you conceptually if you visualize the review paper as a research paper, as follows. Greatly expand the Introduction; delete the Materials and Methods (unless original data are being presented); delete the Results; and expand the Discussion….