A literature review is a summary of published information in a subject area; sometimes limited to a specific time period. Researchers benefit from literature reviews since they provide critical evaluation of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Oftentimes a literature review will highlight disagreements between different scholars or schools of thought.
A literature review can be a standalone document that provides a survey of current research in a particular field or subject. Notice this entire article is dedicated to reviewing literature on the topic.
A literature review may also be located at the beginning of an original research article. Notice this article's literature review is located only in the beginning of the article before the Methodology section.