A literature review can also be known as a literature survey. It can be either a key component of a larger paper such as a report or dissertation, or you may be asked to write one for its own sake.
A literature review describes the existing and established theory and research in your report area. You are providing a context for your work.
A literature review can also show where you are filling a perceived gap in the existing theory or knowledge, or you are proposing something that goes against existing ideas.
Example of a full dissertation (link opens in Solent Electronic Archive; log in details needed)
|Literature review example (PDF opens in new window)|