How To Write A Literature Review: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

how to write a literature review

A literature review is a key component of any research papper or research proposal. It helps you analyze and synthesize the information you find in research. It also allows you to identify gaps in the existing research that your project can fill.

Are you working on a research project that requires you to write a literature review? If so, then you're probably looking for help getting started. Luckily, you've come to the right place.

In this blog post, we'll provide you with everything you need to know about how to write a literature review. By following our guidelines, you'll be able to create a literature review that is both comprehensive and accurate.

So, let's get this started!

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a way to find out what is already known about your topic. It will help you see what has been studied and what gaps or weaknesses still exist.

The literature review provides an overview of the current research and data on the topic. It also includes a survey of scholarly article sources.

The main purpose of writing the literature review is to:

  • Evaluate and analyze the theories that are relevant to your topic
  • Develop a theoretical framework and research methodology
  • Understand the existing research on your topic
  • Provide an overview of the sources that you investigated while researching your topic

A literature review is important because it provides a comprehensive overview of what has been written on the topic. It can help you understand the topic better and also show you where there is room for new research.

A good literature review summarizes sources and critically evaluates them to give you a clear picture of the topic that is currently known.

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Types of Literature Review

There are several different types of literature reviews. It is important to be familiar with each type and understand its requirements and purposes.

The following are the most common types of literature reviews:

  • Argumentative Review

    An argumentative review is a major type of review. It reviews the literature to support an argument. The main purpose of this type of review is to present the contrary viewpoint.

  • Systematic Review

    This type of review is about evaluating and summarizing existing research. It classifies the type of research and considers the objective.

  • Integrative Review

    The integrative type reviews the literature on a topic in an integrated way. Also, it is a common type of review in social sciences.

  • Historical Review

    In this type of research, the researcher looks at the research throughout a period. Show relevance with the recent developments and identify the directions for future research.

  • Methodological Review

    The methodological review helps you to analyze the literature. In addition, the research methods help you understand the ethical issues that are important for your paper.

  • Theoretical Review

    A theoretical review is usually based on the existing literature and explores its relationship with other studies.

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How to Write a Literature Review?

A literature review is the key component of any research paper. It will prevent you from repeating any information, and resolve conflicts between sources, but it needs some planning for the best results.

For your help, we have gathered some steps that will help you write a great literature review.

  • 1. Understand the Requirements

    When writing a research paper, remember that your professor has specific requirements. Know what they want and make sure to meet them.

  • 2. Narrow Your Topic

    Narrowing down your area of study is key to ensuring you are writing about something interesting. Brainstorm and think about what interests or fascinates you, as well as your audience.

    Talk to your professor to find out if they have any suggestions for broadening the scope of topics.

  • 3. Conduct Your Research

    Writing a literature review is not only about gathering sources for your research project. Instead, it should be relevant and find interesting papers that connect to your topic.

    It is important to read authentic texts in your field and the most up-to-date publications by relevant scholars.

  • 4. Analyze and Select Sources

    You can't read everything written about the topic, but you should analyze the most relevant sources. The following are some factors you should consider when analyzing the sources for your paper.

    • Key findings of the research work
    • Challenge to the existing literature
    • Strengths and weaknesses of the research work
    • Key arguments
    • Possible contributions

    To write a credible review, you must be using authentic and reputable scholarly sources. Furthermore, reading the most recent articles in your field will help strengthen your argument.

  • 5. Identify Connections

    Now, you have to determine the relationship between your sources. However, some elements should be taken into account when identifying the relationship.

    • Identify the trends or patterns.
    • Find out the theme of the literature.
    • Examine the gaps
    • Determine the conflicts

    These elements will help you identify your contribution to the existing knowledge.

  • 6. Create the Thesis Statement

    The thesis statement should be clear, concise, and get right to the point. It's not just about stating your point of view as many students think they do--it needs more than that.

    A good research paper will have a strong thesis statement that presents a major viewpoint about the topic.

  • 7. Create the Literature Review Outline

    It is important to organize your literature review the same way as other essays. It should contain an introduction, body, and conclusion.

    However, a difference between this kind of outline and the common research paper outline is that all three sections - introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion - are added in each review.

    Let’s discuss this in detail.

    • Introduction

      The introduction section should present the topic, its importance, and its relevance to readers. A thesis statement should be written at the end of an introduction paragraph. It gives a rough idea about what you will discuss in the review.

    • Main Body

      The main section will discuss the main part of the selected source. What is the author saying in it? What point did the author make here? How is it relevant to the study? All of these questions are answered here.

    • Conclusion

      The conclusion section of your review should summarize the key findings and emphasize their significance. A good conclusion should contain:

      • The overall implications
      • The research gaps
      • The approaches and findings
  • 8. Proofreading and Editing

    The final step in writing a literature review is proofreading. This includes correcting all spelling and grammar mistakes and checking that each paragraph flows consistently with the others. Also, eliminate any jargon words or phrases.

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Literature Review Examples

To write a good literature review, you should know how to write it. Here are some great examples for your help.

How to Write a Literature Review for Thesis

How to Write a Literature Review for Thesis

How to Write a Literature Review Sample

How to Write a Literature Review Sample

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Tips for Writing the Literature Review

Here are some tips for writing the literature review.

  • Focus on the research question.
  • Consider the central theme and ideas.
  • Develop a theoretical framework for your research.
  • A literature review is different from an annotated bibliography.
  • Gather data from books, articles, or journals.
  • Not simply list the sources in the literature review.
  • Summarize and synthesize the main points of each source.
  • Listing and summarizing data in a correct way.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 parts of the literature review?

The three parts of the literature review are:

  • Introduction
  • Background information
  • Body of the review

What should you avoid in a literature review?

Here are some things that you need to avoid in a literature review:

  • Irrelevant and unfocused content.
  • Lack of current literature.
  • Poor referencing.

What makes a good literature review?

A literature review is a crucial part of any research project. It summarizes the information and points out weaknesses in experimental procedures and theoretical conflicts for future scientists.

How many sources should be in a literature review?

The number of sources in a literature review will vary depending on your chosen topic and academic level. But should generally fall between 5-20 sources.