A “review of the literature” is a classification and evaluation of what accredited scholars and researchers have written on a topic. Occasionally you will be asked to write one as a separate assignment, but often it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or thesis. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (., your research objective, the problem or issue you are exploring, or your thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries.