Learn How To Write A Literature Review In Simple Steps
Got an assignment to write a literature review? And you have no idea what it is and how to write it?
It may sound like a challenging task at first glance but you can easily learn how to write a literature review with the help of this guide.
A literature review is not about writing a paper where you will need three articles, two books and perhaps a website source. It is entirely a different thing and requires a lot of research when you delve into the writing process.
You have to be well prepared to find and read a lot of articles and a proper plan to utilize multiple resources to find the required research material.
Keep on reading until the end to understand what really a literature review is and the steps required to write a perfect one.
1. What Is A Literature Review?
It is a search and evaluation of the available literature work in your chosen topic area. It basically includes a survey of scholarly sources to provide an overview of the particular topic. These sources include books, journal articles, theses, etc. A literature review aims to provide an overview of the important findings that relate to the research question.
A good literature review is the one that not just summarize all the sources but aims to analyze, interpret, and evaluate a literature work.
Do not confuse it with a research paper. In a literature review, you will have to come up with new ideas, however, research paper writing is based on the author's original ideas.
For writing a thesis or dissertation, it is essential to conduct a literature review to add your research to the existing knowledge.
2. How To Write A Literature Review?
Here is how you can write a perfect literature review to perfectly combine your research within the existing knowledge.
2.1 Select And Evaluate Literature
The first step is to create a list of keywords that relates to the topic and research question. Find useful articles and check for the reference list to come up with more relevant sources.
You probably would not be able to cover everything on the assigned or selected topic - begin with the abstract to identify whether the article is useful for you or not. Take time and evaluate which source is relevant to your topic and question.
2.2 Find Connections
To start organizing the argument and structure of your literature review, you have to identify the relationship between the sources that you have selected. Based on your evaluation, you can look for the following things:
- Trends: what became more popular over time
- Themes: what concept repeatedly occur
- Debate and Conflicts: where the source disagrees
- Gaps: what is missing in the literature and what things need to be addressed
2.3 Decide On Structure
There are various approaches that can be used to organize the literature review. Depending upon the length, it can follow a chronological, thematic, methodological or theoretical framework.
2.4 Write Your Literature Review
Like any other academic paper, a literature review must have three sections; introduction, body section, and a conclusion. What to include in each section depends on the aims and objectives of your literature review.
If the literature review is part of your thesis or dissertation, restate your research question and briefly summarize the whole context.
If you are writing a standalone literature review, provide some background information on the topic and scope of the literature that you intend to review. Don't forget to mention your objective and the insight that you will draw from the literature.
Divide the body into subsections for each theme or a methodological approach. For writing the body of a literature review, keep in mind the following things:
- Provide an overview of the key points of each source and coherently combine them.
- Do not just paraphrase other's research, make your own interpretations where possible.
- Discuss the significance of your findings in relation to your research.
Summarize the key findings that you have come up with and emphasize their significance. If it is part of your dissertation or thesis, demonstrate the research gaps and what it contributes.
If it is a standalone literature review, discuss the overall implications and make suggestions for future research.
2.5 Edit And Proofread
Once you are done with the writing process, don't forget to edit and proofread your paper a number of times. In this way, you will ensure that the paper does not miss anything important and is free from language mistakes before you hand it in.
3. Literature Review Sample
The above guide will definitely help you understand what a literature review is and how to write one. Here is a sample of a literature review that you can have a look at. Learn the structure, purpose, and structure of this important piece of writing better.
Literature Review Sample
There is a considerable amount of effort that goes into the process of literature review writing. Despite the fact that it is a complicated academic assignment that you can get at high school, college, or university. Many students look for a bit of help to deal with such a complex and time-consuming assignment. Some students lack good writing skills and for some, it is just a boring task.
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