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How to Write a Literature Review: Structure, Examples and Templates

May 13, 2017
An overview of how to do a literature review. Reviewing literature requires your ability to search for information, screen it, analyze and weave into a coherent literature review.

What Is a Literature Review?

A literature review describes, summarizes, evaluates and clarifies literature. It must offer a theoretical base for the research as well as help you (author) to determine the specific nature of your research. You must discard all works, which are irrelevant. Additionally, you should critically look at those works that are peripheral. It's important to note that there is more to literature review than just the mere search for information.


In addition to enlarging your knowledge about a particular topic, penning down a literature review allows you to demonstrate and gain skills in these two areas: 

Critical appraisal - The ability to effortlessly apply analysis principles, in order to identify valid and unbiased studies.

Information seeking - The ability to easily scan the literature efficiently, using computerized or manual methods, in order to identify a string of useful books and articles.

Your literature review must be able to do the following things:

  • Formulate questions which need further research
  • Identify controversial areas in the literature
  • Synthesize results into a summary of the known and unknown
  • Be totally organized around and directly related to the research or thesis question you are developing

What Makes A Good Literature Review?

An excellent literature review should be critical of what has been written. It should also identify areas that need further research, raise questions and recognize areas of controversy. The review should not just describe what others have published in a form of a string of summaries. It should take the form of a discussion, showing insight as well as an awareness of differing approaches, theories, and arguments. It ought to be an analysis and synthesis of the pertinent work published, linked at all times to your rationale and purpose.

The literature review should:

  • Show how a study relates to earlier studies
  • Highlight gaps in research
  • Highlight exemplary studies
  • Note those areas that authors disagree
  • Criticize aspects of methodology
  • Group authors that draw similar conclusions
  • Contrast and compare different the views of different authors on an issue
  • Show how a study relates to literature in general
  • Finalize by summarizing exactly what the literature says

The main purposes of a literature review are:

Where Is A Literature Review Used?

Literature reviews are used in a host of places. Nonetheless, these pieces are mostly used in learning institutions. Many people use them in dissertations, researches, thesis etc. most often, literature reviews are associated with academic-oriented literature like the reviews found in academic journals. However, it is important to differentiate literature reviews from book reviews. The former acts as a basis for research in almost every academic field. Narrow scoped literature reviews might be included as part of peer-reviewed journal articles that present new research. Such serve to situate a current study within the body of a relevant literature and offer context for readers. In such cases, a review normally precedes the methodology as well as the results section of the work. Coming up with a literature review can also be part of a post-graduate and graduate student work, which includes the preparation of a journal article, dissertation or thesis.

Literature Review Structure

An excellent attribute of a great literature review is that it ought to be well structured. Simply put, a literature review has an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

The introduction should:

  • Define your topic as well as offer an appropriate context for reviewing the literature
  • Establish the reasons or point of view for reviewing the literature
  • Perfectly explain the organization or sequence of the review
  • State your scope of the review

The main or middle body should:

  • Provide insight into the relationship between a chosen topic and a wider subject area, for instance, between obesity in kids and obesity in general
  • Organize the literature review according to common themes
  • Move from a general, or wider view of the literature that is being reviewed into a specific focus of the research

The conclusion ought to:

  • Summarize all important aspects of an existing body of literature
  • Outline areas for future studies
  • Evaluate all the current state of literature reviewed
  • Identify crucial gaps or flaws in existing knowledge
  • Link your research to the current knowledge
  • Remember that your review should not only synthesize the literature but also represent it in a logical order or sequence.

How to Write a Literature Review

Literature reviews come in handy in many scientific fields. Their need normally stems from the ever rising output if scientific publications. Here are some tips that can help you come up with a top-notch literature review:

I. Define a topic and audience - The topic you opt for should be:

  • Interesting to you
  • A very important aspect of the field
  • An excellently defined issue

II. Search and then research the literature - After choosing your audience and topic, you can begin by viewing the literature and downloading relevant papers. In this regard, here are five pieces of advice:

  • Always keep track of all the search items you utilize
  • Always maintain a list of papers whose pdfs you can’t immediately access
  • Always use a paper management system
  • Always define early in the process the criteria for exclusion of irrelevant papers
  • In addition to looking for research papers in those areas you wish to review, you should also seek previous reviews

III. While reading, always take notes - While reading, write down interesting pieces of information, insights on how to organize the review as well as thoughts on exactly what to write

IV. Select the specific type of review that you wish to write - Decide whether to write a full or mini literature review

If you are assigned to write a book report and don't understand the difference between a literature review and a book report, then you'll find useful to read:


Where Can One Find Help With Literature Review Writing?

Coming up with an excellent literature review can be challenging and stressful. Consequently, you need to get as much help as you can anytime you are in need. The good thing about writing literature reviews is the fact that plenty of help is available for those in need. All you need to do is log in online and search for the information you need. Plenty of sources is available online for your assistance. Just take your time when looking for literature review help. The last thing you want is to rush things and finally come up with a sub-stand or poor quality literature review. When searching for help online, never be in a rush. Always take your ample time when handling literature review research.

Why Is It Better To Use Literature Review Writing Services

Critical papers of any form are normally difficult to handle. This is because you need to carefully and thoroughly read over other material in order to offer a solid review. In fact, most people struggle with such assignments since they find the protocol to be followed to be complex. With literature review writing services, you do not have to worry about any of these things. These services are offered by expert writers and authors that are highly committed to assisting you out.

Literature review writing services is the perfect place to head out whenever you seek literature review services. providers of these services specialize in offering clients nothing short of the best reviews thus enabling you to satisfy your readers to the max. Whenever you meet these experts, they first evaluate all your needs and afterward give you personal quotes that take care of the needs. Depending on your situation, providers of literature review writing services endeavor to give you professional review services that fully take into account all the regulations and rules that govern the writing of literature reviews.

When you use literature review services, you are guaranteed of plagiarism and error free review. The work is carefully checked to ensure it does not have any language mistakes. If you are having a difficult time writing your literature review, then it is high time you consider literature review writing services and place an order.




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