How to Write a Literature Review

What is a literature review?

A literature review can be acknowledged as an extensive description of literature available pertaining to a particular research topic. A wholesome literature review gives the readership an account of what has been already said by other experts in the field, an outline of theories, concepts, and hypothesis that are formed in the particular field, who the key writers in the field are and what methods and methodologies have been accepted as constructive. Literature includes a vast range of resources, i.e., dissertations, journals and scholarly articles, books, and statistical, government, or historical records or articles.

A number of reasons for getting the literature review right

Be it for an emerging researcher or an experienced researcher in any field, writing a proper and correct literature review for a thesis could be extensively vital due to a number of remarkable reasons. Not only a literature review supports the whole argument behind the thesis by drawing expert evidence from already available research in the field, but also, it functions to found the importance of the research topic and its relevance to the field of study. As well, it justifies your choice of research problem and methodologies while indicating the readership that you are well familiar with the history of your topic and any up-to-date research available relevant to the topic.

What includes writing a literature review, and what doesn’t?

Writing a literature review may include a number of do’s and don’ts and being aware of them is what shapes your literature review. A literature review is certainly not a list of works conducted prior to your study nor it is an exact copy paste of other people’s works. A sound literature review should consist of a well organized account or a synopsis of views drawn from a number of selected authors and works upon your choice. Here, being selective is important as you are not supposed to write anything and everything you have come across with. According to the strength of the argument you are seeking to build, a comparison between the preferred views produced by far by selected authors could be drawn.

Are evaluation and analysis required before you write a literature review?

A satisfactory literature review evaluates all the materials and resources and analyses the findings throughout. You may evaluate particulars such as what the authors attempt to bring out, whether their arguments are clear to pursue, and authors’ viewpoints being subjective or objective. Further, you can analyse what themes emerge and what comparisons and conclusions can be drawn, and what the key differences and similarities noticed in the selected writers and their works are. As such, evaluation and analysis of authors you select and their works could be vital before you draft your literature review.

Organize the structure before starting to write a literature review

Like any kind of writing task requires, a literature review too consists of a strong organization of facts shaped under the style of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction could be the defining of the study area you wish to address and your purpose of the literature review. Beginning form the defining and purpose, you can then move forward to presenting your findings always drawing from relevant resources. To present your findings in the body by means of a discussion, you can start broad with talking about a general idea or an overview of your particular study area and then swiftly narrow it down to a discussion of the research that relates to your specific topic. By doing so, you are making your study feasible and valid. You can either organize your discussion 1) chronologically; according to the findings organized according to the order of them emerged, 2) thematically; in line with subject matters or themes associated with the research subject, or 3) methodologically; corresponding to the methodologies; either qualitative or quantitative, or a mixture of both used by the authors selected for the literature review. The conclusion may include any contradictions, gaps in the field of study, and any further areas for research.

Now, you may start. Best wishes.

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