Content courtesy of the University of Louisville's University Writing Center. Literature Reviews as a Genre: Literature reviews are typical in many disciplines and are usually part of a larger work (e. g. article, book, dissertation). The purpose of a literature review is to evaluate existing research related to your topic and position your argument within the existing research. A literature review is not a decontextualized summary of sources. Common rhetorical moves for lit. reviews. Synthesizing sources: Don't look at sources as isolated theories or research. Instead, put sources in conversation with one another. Identifying the gap: In addition to identifying the current conversation on a topic, identify the gap in the conversation that your research fills. Positioning your argument: Clearly position your research within the existing research, identifying your research questions and relevant research themes. Watch the video for strategies on getting started organizing and evaluating sources for your literature review.