What is a Literature Review?
In brief, a literature review is "a comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular field of study or line of research, usually over a specific period of time, in the form of an in-depth, critical bibliographic essay or annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works" 
A basic literature review in the health sciences "provides an examination of current literature; can cover wide range of subjects at various levels of completeness and comprehensiveness; may include research findings" 
- A literature review synthesizes information
- A literature review is not just a summary, but it is a synthesis. This means that it is a re-organization, or reshuffling, of that information with the purpose of, in your case, evaluating sources and advising the reader on an answer to a clinical question.
- Why read literature reviews?
- If you have limited time to read the most recent articles, you can read a literature review someone else has already written.
- Why write literature reviews?
- On its own, it can be a paper that synthesizes the body of literature on a certain topic that you can share with your colleagues.
- It can also be a section that is part of a larger paper. When performing research, (and writing a longer paper), your literature review provides you with a solid background for your project. It can provide a rationale for why you are undertaking the specific topic you have chosen to investigate.