A literature review is a summary of what is currently known about some issue or field on the basis of research evidence, and/or of what lines of argument there are in relation to that issue or field. Sometimes reviews are designed to stand alone, perhaps even being substantial book-length pieces of work. More usually, they amount to chapters in monographs or theses; and here their function is to set the scene for the particular study being reported, showing how it fits into the existing literature. -- Martyn Hammersley, "Literature Review," in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods
Polish some of the research skills that will be necessary for research, writing, and presentation across multiple academic disciplines.