A literature review is an essential part of a thesis or dissertation and is often included in many other forms of scholarly writing (journal articles, books). Some literature reviews are also published as stand-alone articles. It's rare that anyone teaches you how to write a literature review or discusses why it's necessary so this guide is intended to remedy that.
A literature review may be called by another name, including:
A guide to types of literature reviews appears here: http://guides.mclibrary.duke.edu/c.php?g=158155&p=1035849
Please consider using either RefWorks or Zotero to keep track of your references for the lit review you will be writing for me, and for the research you are doing for your thesis. Life will be much easier if you do, I promise.