A literature review provides an overview of current research in a particular field. It is a way for you to give your reader a general understanding of the topic and to explain how your own research relates to the larger field of study. Your review should include a variety of viewpoints but needn't be overly long or repetitive.
How do you know when you have found enough sources for a review?
Remember, you aren't trying to find ALL research that has been done on your topic. Instead, go for a broad overview of the major findings and differences of opinion.
To avoid the frustration of finding a relevant article and not remembering how to get back to it, keep a reading log. Your log should include citation information plus a quick summary of the article to jog your memory.
You can do this in NoodleTools but you won't have the one-page overview that you can get from a spreadsheet. Click here for an example of a reading log, taken from Mrs. Rettberg's library studies. Customize your own log to include whatever information is most helpful.
The library has many useful resources to assist your research, and there are many free resources on the internet. Here are some places to start.
Gray literature is academic information that is published in places other than academic journals. This information is produced by entities such as government agencies, think tanks, research facilities, or professional associations. There are far too many of these sites to index here, but an internet search of "gray literature" plus your topic may lead to useful results. For non-US research use "grey" instead of "gray."