Know-How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

Written by

Chris Henery

6 mins read
how to write a literature review

The literature review is the backbone of any academic paper. It demonstrates how your research aligns with existing work, fills in any gaps within this area, and gives readers an idea about what they can expect from reading further contributions by you or others on topics similar to yours.

The literature review is your chance to show that you have done research in this area and can be an effective writer. It should contain all relevant information, summarize what was found during the study without giving any key points or techniques, mention connections between different fields of study, present theories with supporting arguments.

Continue reading this blog and get complete information about the literature review.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a way to survey your field’s current state of knowledge. It gives you an overview of what has been studied, identifies gaps and weaknesses.

The main purpose of writing the literature review is to:

  • Analyze, interpret, and evaluate the relevant theories.
  • Obtain an understanding of the existing research.
  • Give an overview of sources that have been investigated in researching a specific topic.

Moreover, the literature review is important because it provides a comprehensive overview of what has been written on the topic. It can also help guide your research in new and interesting ways.

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

When writing a literature review, it's important to know its types. Each type has its requirements and purposes, so you should become familiar with them.

The following are the most common type of literature review:

  • 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 contrarian 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. Also, helps you to 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 gathered some steps that will help you write a great literature review.

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

  3. 2. Narrow your Topic
  4. 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 with a professor to find out if they have any suggestions for broadening the scope of topics.

  5. 3. Do your Research
  6. Writing a literature review is not 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.

  7. 4. Analyze and Select Sources
  8. 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
    • Challenges 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 sources. Furthermore, reading the most recent articles in your field will help strengthen your argument.

  9. 5. Identify Connections
  10. 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.

  11. 6. Create the Thesis Statement
  12. The thesis statement should be clear, concise, and get right to the point. It's not just about stating your opinions 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.

  13. 7. Create the Literature Review Outline
  14. It is important to structure your literature review the same way as other essays. It should contain an introduction, body, and conclusion.

    Let’s discuss these parts 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 want to say in the paper.

    • Main Body
    • The literature review body is the most important part of your paper. This section should summarize all relevant sources and address any major arguments or issues with data. It's also an excellent opportunity for you to present what other research has found on related topics not covered in depth so far.

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

      • Discuss the overall implications
      • Discuss the research gaps
      • Discuss the approaches and findings
  15. 8. Proofreading and Editing
  16. 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.

To write an excellent literature review, you need good writing and research skills. However, if you need a professional writer’s help, simply consult Our writers have experience in writing different types of assignments.

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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.

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