How To Write A Literature Review? Key To Success

Students want tips on how to write a literature review for dummies with examples.


The literature review is the first step of writing every research article or study. To research any issue, the first step is to learn about the previous study and work on the same subject to gain a neutral grasp of the concepts. This is the primary purpose of a literature review.


The literature review can be defined as previous research results on a topic to obtain a better knowledge of it from other academics' and researchers' perspectives.


A literature review also gives the reader a detailed description of prior discussions that precede the study's research paper, argument, or thesis. Therefore, it is vital to learn how to create a literature review to prevent making mistakes. The fundamental essentials are explained in this blog.


1. What Is A Literature Review?

Before rushing to the main content, you must first know what literature review exactly means. Although a literature review is a separate portion, it is an essential component of every research effort since it thoroughly examines the crucial publications on the study topic.


It is often prepared to assess a piece of a published body of knowledge by outlining, summarizing, and examining previous research projects.


A literature review might be in the form of a research paper or printed material. An introduction, which summarizes the research article on which the literature review is based, is an essential part of a review.


Next, every minute of information about the chapter overview, acknowledgment, aims, and particular purpose is expressed systematically in the body section. Finally, the conclusion is written so that it summarizes the entire paper.



2. Examples of Literature Reviews And How to Write Them


A literature review should be structured similar to any other essay, with an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. We've outlined the framework of a literature review below to assist you in understanding how to create one:




The beginning of your literature review will provide readers with an outline of several works that have been examined concerning your selected topic.


The following are the essential elements that must be included in the opening of a literature review:


  • Describe the purpose of your study and the significant works that will be covered in your dissertation or literature review.

  • Give the primary rationale for selecting the individual research, including their purpose for your issue.

  • Make your review's structure and composition more transparent.

  • Indicate the evaluation's scope, including what's included and what's left out. This way, you'll be able to distinguish between the elements of your issue that are related to the present literature that you'll be addressing and those that are irrelevant to the topic and should be avoided.



The Main Body of Information


The following stage is to compose the primary body of material after presenting the review's objective, topic, and context.


This is the major area to look at while learning how to write a literature review. It comprises the following:


  • Arrange the Review in a consistent manner, such as chronologically, thematically, or otherwise.

  • Consider the link between the theme you've picked and the more in-depth information accessible on the subject.

  • Always remember to provide your own thoughts in addition to what the scholar has said.



The Conclusion


It's also important to properly tie up your literature review once you've completed it.


When writing the conclusion of a literature review, here are the important components you must include:


  • Compile a summary of the study results you've highlighted based on your careful review of the topic.

  • Examine the books you've read this far.

  • Determine whether there are any serious defects or gaps in current data.

  • Make a map of potential research areas.

  • Connect your literature evaluation to current data and determine the area in which you want to extend your research thesis or project.


3. How To Write Literature Review For a Research Paper


You will need to do a literature study while writing a thesis, dissertation, or research paper to put your findings in context with current knowledge.


You may accomplish the following using the literature review:


  • Showcase your information about the topic and academic background.

  • Design a theoretical foundation for your topic as well as a research strategy.

  • Examine how you stack up against other academics and researchers.

  • Illustrate how your research fills a gap or adds to a debate.

Have a glance through the points below to understand how to write a literature review:



Step 1: Conduct A Relevant Search on Your Topic


You must have a well-defined topic before you start looking for books.


You will look for literature linked to your study topic and questions if you are writing a literature review portion of a dissertation or research paper. 


Make A Keyword List


Make a list of terms related to your study topic. Draw up a list of synonyms and related phrases for each of the primary topics or features that you're interested in. If you come across any more phrases while conducting your literature search, you may add them to this list.


The library's catalogue at your college like Project by EBSCO Muse is a fictitious character in Google Scholar and JSTOR (humanities and social sciences), MedlinePlus is a database that contains information about medical conditions (life sciences and biomedicine).


"EconLit" (economics) is an acronym for "economic literature" (physics, engineering, and computer science). These websites will almost probably be of use to you.


Use the following adaptive filter to help you narrow down your search:


  • AND to locate sources that have more than one term (e.g., social media AND body image AND generation Z).

  • OR to search sources that include one of a number of synonyms.

  • NOT to include results that contain certain words (e.g. apple NOT fruit)



Note: To see if an article is related to your topic, read the abstract. You may utilize the bibliography to identify more relevant sources after you've found a helpful book or article.


To locate the most important papers on your topic, look for citations that appear repeatedly. If certain writers, books, or articles keep popping up in your reading, make it a point to look them up.


Step 2: Assess And Choose Sources


As you will not be able to read everything published on the topic, you will need to prioritize which sources are most relevant to your questions. Make sure the sources you utilize are reliable whenever you read any important studies or ideas of your subject/topic.


When you open a research paper, you will be able to see the number of times a research paper has been cited. A high citation count suggests that the work has had a significant influence in the field. You should consider those papers for the literature review of your research paper.


Depending on your topic and field, the extent of your evaluation will vary: In the sciences, you normally just look at contemporary literature, but in the humanities, you could go back over a long period of time (for example, to see how a piece of art evolved over time).


Make A List of Your Sources And Make A Note of Them


As you read, you should begin writing. Make notes that you may include into the content of your literature study later. It's vital to keep track of your sources and credit them in order to avoid plagiarism.


Making an annotated bibliography, in which you collect complete citation information and write a paragraph summarizing and analyzing each source, might be beneficial. This aids in remembering what you've read and saves you time later on.


You may use our free citation generator to rapidly generate APA (American Psychological Association) or MLA (Modern Language Association) citations that are proper and consistent.



Step 3: You Need To Search For Three Things In A Research Paper


Common themes, arguments, and gaps. You must first appreciate the connections and relationships between the sources you've researched before you can begin organizing the thesis and structure of your literature review.


Few things you can search for in order to read and prepare notes:


  • Do certain techniques to gain or lose acceptance over time. 

  • Keep an eye on the issues or subjects that recur throughout the literature.

  • Sometimes the same topic can contradict in different sites, so always notice the point where that disagreement occurred and in which context. 

  • Also, see whether there are any ground-breaking studies or hypotheses that have transformed the focus.

  • Always search for the faults if any that need to be fixed.


These questions will help you establish the framework for your literature evaluation and (if applicable) show how your own research contributes to it.



Step 4: Create A Rough Outline For Your Literature Study


A literature review's body can be formatted in a variety of ways. Before you start writing, you should have a broad idea of what you want to accomplish.


You can use a combination of these strategies, depending on the duration of your literature study.


Here are some examples of possible literature review formats:


  • Following the topic's progression over time is the simplest technique. If you have decided to utilise this method, you have to make sure you are not merely identifying and summarising sources in chronological sequence. Examine the significant controversies, turning points, and trends that have influenced the field's trajectory. You need to write the literature review in your own words.


  • If you see certain recurring key themes, you may divide your literature study into subsections that focus on different parts of the issue. If you're seeking information about disparities in migrant health outcomes, for example, you may check into healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural perspectives, legal status, and economic access.


  • If your sources originate from a number of areas or fields, you might want to look at the outcomes and conclusions that different research methods provide.


Think about this scenario:


  • Take a look at the results of qualitative vs. quantitative research.

  • Distinguish between empirical and theoretical approaches to the problem.

  • Sort the sources into categories such as social, historical, and cultural.


A literature review is often used to construct a theoretical framework. It may be used to explain a wide range of concepts, models, and definitions. You might make a case for one theoretical approach or combine numerous theories to provide a framework for your research.



Step 5: Conclusion


In your conclusion, you should summarise and emphasize the most important findings from the material you've acquired. For a dissertation, a review of the literature is required.


Explain how your study fills gaps and contributes new information, or how you established a framework for your research by relying on existing concepts and approaches, if your literature review is part of your thesis or dissertation.


4. Review of The Literature For A Stand-Alone Article

You may even be given to write a literature review as a separate task and not write a whole research paper.


The goal in this instance is to assess the present level of research and exhibit your understanding of academic arguments on the subject.


Each case's substance will change significantly, but the methods for performing a literature study are the same.


When you are writing a stand-alone piece, you should look at the larger implications of the literature or provide recommendations for future research based on the gaps you've found.


As soon as you finish writing the literature review, proofreading it thoroughly is a very important step.



5. Final Words


Begin by looking at your topic's most important research papers, studies, books, and other materials.


Create a list of references or sources relating to your topic as a starting point. You may use research sites or to obtain relevant literary materials. You can also contact your supervisor for assistance in finding the most significant literature and texts on your topic.


You may also utilize additional bibliographical sources to depict your literature evaluation properly. EndNote, for example, is a valuable tool for reading, organizing, and generating reference records. So, following the procedures mentioned above, you will soon be transformed into a pro-level writer.

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