Literature review is a key stage in research paper writing.  An in-depth analysis reveals the relevance of the selected topic. To find out how to write a literature review, study the proposed material and be ready for difficult work.

Preparation of any professional review requires an in-depth study of publications on a given topic from various sources. Students should carefully study provided literature, which should be critically assessed. As a result of writing a review, it will be possible to identify inaccuracies and gaps in the theory.

A job well done includes real-life examples proving bottlenecks in theoretical knowledge. Studying researches and other sources should be conducted extremely carefully. Important details must not be overlooked.

Analysis, generalization, and criticism make it possible to clearly identify existing problems and propose methods for their solution. Lack of theoretical knowledge, which will be revealed during an organizing work, becomes apparent and allows looking for the right way out of a situation.

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What Is a Literature Review?

If you are assigned to write an undergraduate dissertation, you will probably be asked to start with literature review. Generally, it is an available literature research and assessment.

Work on your literature review on a given topic is required for a realistic assessment of the current state in this area of ​​science. Analyzing sources, literature, and thematic publications will let you express your opinion and make data summary.

Regarding the definition of your review, it’s worth mentioning several basic rules. An author searches for scholarly sources on a given topic and summarizes provided information. An assessment of available publications is the second stage of preparation.

Thanks to an in-depth study of the material, it is possible to combine existing theories and methods and then analyze research effectiveness. An author's task is as follows:

  • studying of literature on a given research topic;
  • summarizing a received data;
  • subsequent analysis of information;
  • indication of literature in a specific order.

A researcher should synthesize studied information. Then, summarize it for a better topic understanding. Important details must not be missed, so work is carried out with special care.

Why Should You Write a Literature Review

Primary purpose of a literature review is to understand ways of writing scientific articles and publications on a selected topic.  Reading some famous researchers' works, one gets used to presenting facts correctly and learns to avoid stylistic mistakes.

There are many reasons for doing research. First, you can get a complete picture of your topic. Also, you can get acquainted with an existing knowledge base. Also, during your review preparation, define the importance of your research. Study popular methods, and apply them in practice.

Finding gaps and creating your theoretical framework in research positively affects your final results. They will become a basis for the next research. A written report is the first step towards understanding any topic.

When Should You Write a Literature Review

Analysis of literary sources is required much more often than it might seem at first glance. Project managers insist that preparing a review is an essential step in work. You should analyze current researches, their theories, and methods in cases of writing:

It will be necessary to prepare literature reviews for different areas of science, regardless of the study subject. Specialists in different fields must understand what is happening in such fields as psychology or sociology for summarizing achieved results and new discoveries.

The number of disciplines is not limited to specific areas. Since the study of publications is required for both STEM subjects and humanities.  There are no exceptions!

Literature Review: Prewriting Process

Writing a literature review lets you form your own opinion on current developments in a field. And then share it with your readers. Your preparation for your work is carried out in stages. That is why it is necessary to follow a particular strategy.

Steps before writing a literature review are presented below:

  • search for suitable sources;
  • studying available information;
  • analyzing suitable materials;
  • assessment of articles by their usefulness;
  • arranging collected data about your topic.

To simplify the conducted work, study some ready-made templates for writing scientific articles. You will be able to choose one that suits you when you study tasks set by your research advisor and your goals of writing a review.

Formulate a Problem for Literature Review

It takes much effort to write a proper literature review. You will be able to simplify the laborious process by identifying the primary statement of the problem that will be highlighted in your work. An author can determine the main focus of a literature review. But it is still worth considering your advisor’s or professor’s opinion.

Your work should be based not on sources and publications but on concepts. Not everyone succeeds in tracking a general direction. So you will require your research advisor’s support. It will help you make the right decision and clarify your research topic.

Choosing a single topic will make you focus your attention on essential details. And not waste your energy in vain. It is also worth preparing an essential list of keywords. It will help to formulate your thoughts, taking into account requirements. Upon completing your work, you will find an answer to disturbing questions. You will also determine if there are gaps in a selected topic.

Search for Relevant Literature to Review

It is worth starting your research immediately after you have managed to separate relevant information from outdated data. Study suitable sources and delve deeper into what is written there. This is the only way to notice details that indicate a loss of relevance.

Keep in mind that not all relevant books and articles correspond to your chosen topic. Using outdated data will not help you reveal a topic. You should determine how relevant each source is for writing papers in medicine or other sciences that distribute information about innovative discoveries.

Decide on a list of keywords that reveal the current situation. And follow the given algorithm. You will better understand a selected topic over time. It will be possible after studying necessary information and databases.  You can choose relevant sources for literature review on websites and various Internet pages.

Narrow Down a Topic for Literature Review

The narrower the topic of your literature review, the easier it is to process information. In-depth data analysis helps you understand each topic's feature better. And then, display them in your work. Finding books on an interesting but narrow topic will be more efficient.

Studying all literature on your topic significantly complicates your task. It will not be possible to exclude all irrelevant materials quickly. It will be possible to avoid this development of events. Thanks to narrowing down your topic and following a set course. It is not worth studying an enormous amount of materials in an area you chose.

You can also reduce the scope of information by asking your research advisor and professors who work in a corresponding field for help. A quick survey of people who know what is happening will help you determine incomprehensible moments and direct your energy in the right direction.

Evaluate Your Literature

Finding the right publication will help you articulate and communicate your message based on research in this area. It is crucial to answer the main question posed in your topic. Because this is the only way to avoid confusion and mistakes in your final work.

It is quite difficult to create a review of literature. But it is possible to assess the relevance of received data in a simple way. To do this, ask yourself several clarifying questions regarding selected material:

  • What approach does an author of that publication use?
  • Are there gaps in the presented theory?
  • How does selected material contribute to your topic;
  • What strengths and weaknesses were identified during your study?
  • What conclusions were made by studying selected publications?

Each answer will help you determine how useful the information is. And then provide an opportunity to narrow down the list of literature sources. If you refuse useless data, you can focus only on relevant information. Thanks to it, you can create your own vision of an existing problem. These developments will get you there faster than you think.

How to Write a Literature Review

Before you learn how to do literature review, you should focus on key stages of your preparation process. A clear topic's definition and choosing sources are only one small part of what needs to be done. To write an excellent literature review, there are several steps that must be followed:

  • define the main topic and thesis of your review;
  • choose a certain structure of your material presentation;
  • arrange sources in required format;
  • prepare scientific findings that you made after studying your topic.

Observing several research writing stages will allow you not to lose thought and create logical connections between sections.  Prepare a keywords list. Then, critically evaluate what you have learned to get your job done excellently.

State a Topic and Thesis of Literature Review

Organizing materials will allow you to create an excellent review that meets advisor’s requirements. Careful study of the information is also necessary in order to analyze connections between different sources and highlight these points in your final version.

It will be much easier to prepare an excellent literature review introduction if you determine one single binder for the entire chain in advance. There is no need to turn your materials analysis into an aimless collection of useless data since it will just waste your time and effort. The ability to analyze comes in handy for formulating basic thesis statements.

Additional information obtained during your work on your review will be used in the background. It will become an excellent basis for confirming your conclusions and completing your article.

Organize the Structure of a Literature Review

Arranging the discussed literature used in your research is necessary to provide useful information. Choosing a specific method will allow you to create your list of sources. And then bring them in the desired order. How to organize a literature review? First, you need to study the main body:

  1. Summarize data. Results will help you understand an author for a better presentation of your topic.
  2. Try to synthesize your information. Combine all parts to create a work connected by one understandable topic.
  3. Focus on facts. It is in your power to interpret your research and relate it to the topic of your work.
  4. Critical assessment of information. To evaluate sources for usefulness, you will need to study a lot of literature.

Don't think that each paragraph is an individual story. Your task is to combine received information and present it in an easy simplified way.

Literature Review Methodology

Choosing bibliography structure has four different options. In other words, you can use various literature review methods at your own discretion. Choose methodology for drawing up your list from these options:

  1. Chronological. This procedure for presenting information assumes transition from early mentions of your topic to later ones. It allows you to trace the area development and point out gaps in it.
  2. Thematic. This method involves breaking down one big topic into smaller ones. This approach will allow you to cover the situation from different points of view. It will also let you indicate reasons for this development.
  3. Methodological. Using materials that relate to different areas requires an exceptional procedure for presenting information. Combine data obtained using a specific method into one paragraph.
  4. Theoretical. Theory is the basis for the practical study of any topic regardless of the main direction. Organizing the information will help prepare the ground and share your conclusions on this matter.

You will be able to choose certain method only after analyzing materials you used.

Cite Sources According to Literature Review Format

Presenting the list of sources depends on an optimal selected format. You can decide on an appropriate method yourself and by asking your advisor. Choose mla or apa format for literature review. Design your article accordingly to stated requirements.

Since there are significant differences between methods, it is worth focusing on some design features of the list with references. The rules are dictated by the desire to provide information in a convenient format and submit text in accordance with requirements.

Cite sources in accordance with the chosen style. This is the main condition for compiling a literature list. Make sure you cite a book or an information site correctly. And arrange links in the correct format.

End Your Literature Review

As in other types of works, observing a structure that remains the only true one is required. Write an introduction, the main part, and then share your findings in a final part. Refer to sources used and indicate their strengths or weaknesses. Make sure your topic is 100% covered.

Any literature review conclusion is an analysis of facts and an essential systematization of specified information. You cannot do without it, as conclusions become an important part of any research and emphasize its significance. Before summarizing, answer questions that were raised in work. Give reasons for your conclusions, and don’t leave any room for speculation.

Tips on Writing a Literature Review

No one doubts that writing a literature review is pretty difficult task. These recommendations will help you achieve the desired result:

  1. Back up with evidence. Give reasons for your opinion and conclusions, and don’t neglect this effective strategy.
  2. Focus on the most critical points. Focusing on the main points will help you express your thoughts much more accurately than before.
  3. Use quotes properly. It is easy to upset professional since not following the basic rules annoys every reader.
  4. Stick to your own style. Choose an appropriate presentation style and stick to it until the end of work.

Advisers and timely prioritization will help you simplify work on your review. Make keyword lists to be used in your article. Combine several paragraphs with a single thought.

Literature Review Example

Literature review samples will help you compose an important list of literature. Pay attention to key points such as design, method selection, and arrangements of materials. Use an advice you receive to your advantage, and don't neglect the suggested template.

Your finished work should correspond to this sample and take into account the peculiarities of writing such articles. Check the suggested sample and make sure your work looks like our template below.

Literature Review: Challenges Facing EFL Teachers in Mixed-Ability Classes and Strategies
Paper type

Literature Review: Bottom Line

A list of materials used helps to highlight your topic and prove how relevant your study is. Give reasons for each conclusion, and you will be able to convince readers of your correctness. Don't neglect the importance of organizing your work since your final result depends on it.

Inexperienced students who don't know how to write a literature review can seek help from a supervisor or use some professional services. A quick solution to assigned tasks will help you get some ready-made material. It will also help to prepare well for its defense.

Responsible conducting of all mandatory procedures will help you form your vision of a problem and tell like-minded people about it. Good sources, the ability to analyze them, and following principles of generalization will ensure your success.

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Students Also Ask About Literature Review

1. What is the difference between a literature review and a research paper?

The confusion arises for one simple reason: lack of focus during the preparation stage. While literature review is a collection of information from available sources, research paper turns out to be material for list compiling. Yes, it is possible to make new proposals for further research. But your work will not always be a sufficient reason for this.

2. How long should a literature review be for a research paper?

You will be able to determine an appropriate number of pages only taking into account the purpose of work. Literature review length takes an entire chapter. This volume is enough for a brief introduction of a reader to the topic.

Write a short review of several pages when the main task is about preparing an individual assignment given by your teacher. Your finished text volume is determined depending on the purpose of your work. It also depends on the requirements of an advisor who accepts it.

3. What is a systematic literature review?

In accordance with the definition of a systematic literature review, it is a way of processing research results carried out by scientists, researchers, and other science representatives. An unbiased overview is compiled based on the information received, including the so-called "grey" literature.

Research studies help students get useful information about any topic. But there is still the risk of using unverified information. To answer empirical questions, one should conduct experiments and tests in labs.  Then they become evidence of the theory. Researches are not used as inviolable arguments. Therefore they can be discussed.

4. What are the primary and secondary sources in a literature review?

The difference between original and secondary sources is that in the first case, you should process data from original sources. In other words, these are interviews with researchers or their notes in diaries. As for secondary sources, they include reviews in magazines and books.

Primary sources in a literature review are used as often as secondary ones. Even though the first ones are directly related to the author, it isn’t possible to completely abandon materials that summarize and describe other works.

Article posted on:Jul 26, 2022
Article updated on:Jul 28, 2022


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