A literature review is a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the principal research about the topic being studied.
The review helps form the intellectual framework for the study.
The review need not be exhaustive; the objective is not to list as many relevant books, articles, reports as possible.
However, the review should contain the most pertinent studies and point to important past and current research and practices in the field.
Bookshelves by Giuseppe Maria Crespi (c. 1725)
A literature review serves several purposes. For example, it:
The most high quality scholarly journals go through a rigorous peer-review process before they are published.