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ME 490 - Engineering Design

Purpose of a Literature Review

To show that you have a good understanding of the background of your topic of research or investigation. To do this, you need to do the following:

  1. Give a coherent account of the various areas of research relevant to your topic.
  2. Give a historical account of its development. Its history may span many years or very few, if it is a recently developed area.
  3. Show that you know who has done the relevant work, by citing at the appropriate points in the text the names of the authors and the years in which the work was published.
  4. Show the links between the various areas of the body of knowledge – the correlations, contradictions, ambiguities and gaps in the knowledge.
  5. Show the weaknesses of other work and techniques.
  6. Provide a summary of available techniques and materials.
  7. Show how your work will form an original contribution.


Silyn-Roberts, H. (2012). Writing for science and engineering : papers, presentations and reports. Retrieved from

California State University Maritime Academy

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200 Maritime Academy Drive
Vallejo, CA 94590 

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