How to Write a Literature Review: Step-by-Step Guidelines

How to Write a Good Literature Review

Do you have the assignment to write a literature review? It can be a challenging task for those who deal with this type of paper for the first time. For someone, it needs to be clarified what a literature review is. But there is always a way to learn.

This article is created to help you to learn how to write a literature review. We will walk you through all stages of creating a decent paper and share some helpful tips. So, let’s get started!

What Is a Literature Review: Definition & Importance

First, let’s define what a literature review is. It is a document that discusses academic sources on a specific topic to identify existing theories, concepts, similarities, controversial points, etc.

Sometimes people need clarification on the name of this type of paper and consider that it is used only for reviewing literary pieces like novels and poems. But, it is a wrong statement. A literature review can be written on any topic in any field of study, and its importance is critical.

The primary purpose of writing a literature review is to research current scholarly sources on a particular topic, evaluate them, and discover agreed opinions, contradictions, and opportunities for future research. Thus, creating literature reviews is essential for gaining knowledge of current positions and views on specific topics and finding ways for future development in different fields of study.

Steps of Writing a Literature Review

There are several stages of creating a literature review, and writing is the final one. But, it is only possible to do a decent literature review by knowing about all stages. That’s why we want to tell you a little about the whole process before providing more detailed guidelines on writing.

There are five steps you need to do before writing a literature review:

  • Research current articles and other academic sources on a chosen topic
  • Read and evaluate them
  • Identify trending ideas, theories, controversies, gaps
  • Organize your findings and create an outline for your review
  • Write a literature review.

It is critical to take time for each of these steps. First, you must conduct in-depth research to find enough credible academic sources. The second step will take more time, as you need to thoroughly review all the references, evaluate them, and note key ideas, concepts, and theories described in each source to compare them later and find patterns, contradictions, etc.

The next step, creating an outline, is essential for making the writing process much more manageable. That’s why we want to give you more information about an appropriate structure for a literature review.

How to Structure a Literature Review

A literature review is divided into three sections: an introduction, main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Whether you create a paper or your literature review is just one of the sections for the more complex work (dissertation, for example), the length of the study can be from a few to 20 pages or more.

Although the structure is similar to most essays, and you will be OK with dividing the material into chapters, you can choose the best approach to organize the information in the paper. To help you with this, we will tell you about different techniques and when to use them.

How to Start a Literature Review

The introduction to a literature review is usually short, not more than one page (or a few paragraphs if your literature review is one of the sections of a more extensive paper). To understand what to write in this section, you need to answer the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of writing a literature review on the chosen topic?
  • What was the main focus of your research?
  • How can you briefly summarize the reviewed sources?

This will give your audience a better idea of what you will discuss or report in your literature review. Ensure your introduction is brief, informative, precise, and engaging for readers.

Literature Review Introduction: How We Write It

If you feel you need more confidence in your writing skills, our team of academic writers will help you to create a literature review introduction. We use a personalized approach to each order to guarantee the quality of delivered work.

To create the best literature review introduction for you, our specialists will follow the next steps in their work:

  • Review all sources you want to use for a literature review or key findings provided in your order.
  • Create a summary of researched sources.
  • Explain the purpose and the focus of the literature review.
  • Write the introduction.
  • Proofread created text.

Thus, if you need assistance writing a literature review introduction, don’t hesitate to ask us for customized help.

How to Write Main Body Paragraphs

If you follow all the steps of creating a literature paper and organize your findings beforehand, it will be easy to write the main body of your essay. Then, all you need to do is to choose the right approach to provide the information. Here are some of them:

  • Thematic — organize the information in sections by founded themes (repeated ideas, concepts).
  • Theoretical — develop your review by discussing different theoretical approaches to research a specific topic.
  • Chronological — provide the information in chronological order to show how themes and approaches change over time.
  • Methodological — compare different research methods and approaches to a specific question.

How to End a Literature Review

You need to add a concluding paragraph or section at the end of your literature review. In conclusion, you briefly summarize all the sources you analyzed by reiterating the main ideas, patterns, conflicting theories, and gaps.

You can also reiterate your introduction and add a few words about the opportunities for future research on the topic. Finally, make your conclusion short, precise, and without excessive details.

How Professionals Write a Literature Review Conclusion

Writing a reasonable conclusion can be challenging for students, but not for our specialists. Writers from our team know how to conclude a literature review best. Here is the approach we use:

  • Review the text
  • Note the key findings
  • Evaluate their importance
  • Take into account the client’s specific requirement
  • Create a concluding paragraph by reiterating key findings, explaining their significance, and mentioning the opportunities for future research
  • Proofread the conclusion
  • Deliver it to a client.

If you want professional help with your paper, don’t hesitate to call us! We are always ready to help with any writing assignment.

Useful Tips From Professional Writers

There needs to be more than just knowing how to structure your literature review and what information to include to create a decent paper. However, professionals usually are well-versed in writing such work and understand all the nuances. And we want to share with you some tips that will improve your literature review significantly.

Do and Don’t in Writing a Literature Review

This article mainly mentioned the correct way to structure and write literature reviews. But, it is also helpful to know what you should always write in this type of paper. Thus, here are some main don’ts from our experts:

  • Only describe some of the studies conducted on the researched topic.
  • Provide only a few details about each source.
  • Refrain from structuring your literature review by researchers or their papers.

Instead of these, try to follow the next rules:

  • Choose only the most relevant and authoritative sources for analysis.
  • Note each work’s key points to analyzing later in comparison to each other.
  • Structure your literature review by key findings (trending theories, similarities, contradictions, gaps, etc.).

How to Improve the Quality of Your Paper

The only way to learn how to write the best literature review is by practicing a lot. However, some tricks and tips can help to improve the quality of your literature review. Here are some of them:

  • Review some literature reviews on a similar topic before writing. It will help you to choose a better structure for your work.
  • Create an annotated bibliography in the process of analyzing academic sources. It will help you to save time organizing the information and sources later.
  • Always proofread your text. Double-check everything again if you’re tired and sure your paper is error-free.

But, if you need to improve your literature review significantly, leverage our academic writing services. Then, with professional help, you will receive a top-notch literature review.

Literature Review Examples

As we mentioned earlier, literature reviews are created to discover the current questions and trending topics in different fields of study. And depending on the academic sources in what area you research, the way you present information will vary significantly. So let’s look at some examples to understand better how you should write different literature reviews.

Political Science Literature Review

Reviewing political science literature is a helpful way to learn more about different theories, debates, and research methods of a specific topic. The best way to organize a political science literature review is by “schools of thought” — a set of criteria that help to identify academic sources with similar ideas and concepts.

In this way, you can analyze different positions on a particular topic, compare them, find contradictions and agreed points, and, thus, provide a comprehensive review.

Scientific Literature Review

When analyzing scientific literature, you don’t need to interpret the information. All you need is to note the main research methods and approaches, compare critical findings and results of other research, and discuss opportunities for future research. You only report the essential information to highlight similarities, conflicting theories, results, and research gaps to gain new insights on a specific topic.

Philosophy Literature Review

Writing a philosophy literature review differs sharply from writing one for a scientific or political literature review. As part of humanities studies, philosophy papers mainly only discuss current questions and topics but don’t provide solutions or discover new methods to research a particular problem, in contrast to scientific papers.

That’s why the philosophy literature review focuses on interpreting researched scholarly sources and discussing different positions on a particular topic, supporting ideas, etc. Writing a philosophy literature review, you should take it into account.

Final Thoughts

Writing a literature review requires good preparation and analyzing skills. In addition, you must know how to search authoritative academic sources, carefully examine them, and organize the material. Of course, these skills can be gained with practice, but we hope our tips will help you create a decent literature review. And, if you’re unsure of your skills, you can always request help from our service!

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