The goal of a historical review is to tell the reader where your contribution is relative to the previous work. You should use peer reviewed papers to help support your claims. A peer reviewed paper has been subjected to a process where others in the field review the paper for the purpose of selection and screening. The process forces authors to meet the standards of the publication forum. Peer review may help the quality of a publication.
To help determine publication quality, you might use
acceptance rate. Acceptance rates are sometimes published.
For example net stats
The others that have done work before you have laid a foundation for your field. Your goal is to build upon that foundation. Thus, you should describe the foundation upon which you are building your contribution.
How do you do this? You should read a paper and then answer specific questions about the paper:
For the readings course, you will need a section on historical contributions. The goal of the readings course is to place your contribution in the context of previous work. You might check out this sample: Sample Phd Thesis
For example, Diffraction rangefinding is not new [DeWitt], nor, for that matter, is rangefinding using the non-linear chirp grating [Lyon and DeWitt]. However, no one had applied the basic methods of non-linear chirp diffraction rangefinding to the measurement of band-gaps in semi-conductors. Also new is the use of diffraction gratings to agument Spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) [Hilfiker]. Our system will be more accurate than that the rangefinders of [Lyon and DeWitt] and this will be shown with experimental results.
The literature should be peer-reviewed articles in journals and conferences (not textbooks). Plan on ordering 45 articles from the library. The map of campus is here The library is building 30.