The literature review is the work that examines sources on the specific topic in the certain are, not just summarizing what their authors talk about, but providing an adequate critique of each one. The summary of the work recaps the data provided by the author, and the synthesis provides an interpretation of the information, looks at the way it was obtained, and how the author put it in the particular context. Also, a lit review may simply aim to keep a record of the progress in the field by looking at the works of well-known researchers. The lit review sometimes can provide the basic info and assessment to tell the reader what kind of source is more relevant or credible.
The aim of the thesis paper is to present a new idea or question in the field and research it thoroughly, and a literature review is one of the most significant parts of this work. It is also presented in the proposal, and its main goal is to support the major idea. The literature review does not give any contributions to the sphere in terms of new information as it simply summarizes and analyzes sources.
Literature reviews are more like guides for researchers or reports on the set of sources. These papers are of a huge help for any professionals, as they let them save a lot of time. The literature review shows that the person who takes the project has enough background information to produce a quality work and get trustworthy results in the end.
If you do not know where to start with your lit review, try to read a few from your field to get the basic understanding of how it is written and what has to be in it. Also, you can simply find comprehensive research on the similar topic or just any question in the field and see how this part of the work contributes to the whole paper.
As you understand, there are numerous studies in the sphere you are taking the project in, and you sure cannot read them all. Thus, you need to narrow down the topic if you want your project to be manageable. When the topic is not too broad, it is way easier to look for the sources and have a limited scope. Your supervisor and the committee expect you to make a serious research work, and you will not be able to do it if you will not identify the material you should be searching for while going through the sources. Use keywords related to your topic to find the articles on the web and go through the books’ index faster.
Do not forget to use all the sources you have. This means that you should not hesitate to contact your supervisor or any professor who is willing to help and ask them questions. You can ask them to send you a few relevant books or suggest what you need to read, and what kind of authors you should avoid.
Note that you will most certainly have specific requirements to the sources, at least to their currency. Numerous fields are developing so fast, it is crucial to keep up with the pace, and throw away the old data. Even a five-year-old source can be considered old in case your topic needs a brand new info only. This mostly applies to scientific disciplines, so if you are in humanities, you can most likely use even few-century-old sources, and they will be relevant enough. You can ask a few scholars in the field regarding the sources you should use, and check on the limitations with your committee.