How to do a literature review? It’s one of the most popular questions that many students ask. If you also wonder how to complete this written assignment, take time to get a clear understanding of its definition and read this helpful guide. Literature reviews as critical considerations of the studies and works of other authors, including articles or any other source, about a specific issue or field. Your paper should synthesize them to form its picture.
Your detailed analysis is a key part of a literature review that also requires your good evaluative and summarizing skills. Its effectiveness depends on the ability to link the findings or conclusions of other writers to highlight differences, similarities, weakness, and strengths. It’s not a summary or description of other works.
What is a literature review?
Any literature review is your critical analysis of published materials in a specific area, and it’s an assessment of sources that should provide university or other teachers with classifications, comparisons, and evaluations. Students can include it in their thesis, article, or research report.
Write your literature review based on a standard format. Organize it as any other essay, take care of all references, and incorporate body paragraphs, concluding and introductory sections. It’s not an annotated bibliography that lists one material after another.
What are basic literature review purposes?
Teachers may ask you to write it to demonstrate your knowledge and comprehension of available information on a given subject. You can achieve this goal by analyzing and synthesizing information to do the following:
- Identify previous research on your topic;
- Give a brief overview or major concepts;
- Choose significant patterns or connections;
- Point out any gaps in the study;
- Show weak and strong sides;
- Focus on any conflicting evidence;
- Develop a strong argument.
How to write your literature review?
There are some simple and efficient steps that you should take if you wonder how to do a literature review:
- Determine your main purpose;
- Conduct your extensive database research;
- Note important bibliographical details;
- Read and analyze all sources carefully.
Determine your main purpose
Check assignment questions or prompts and teachers’ criteria to understand what to highlight in your literature review. Think what you should address in it. You can easily do it by defining what requirements ask you to do and what you’re planning to discover.
Do your extensive search
Find the works of other authors on the same subject in your local library, online, or other places. What kind of material? Use only authoritative, current, and relevant sources. Your extensive literature review of credible information should include reports, journal articles, books, web resources, government documents, and others.
How many sources? Their number depends on the purpose of your academic writing and the complexity level of your studies or disciplines. Remember that professors can always advise you on that. You may include five sources at your undergraduate level and more than fifty of them when composing a complex thesis.
Note bibliographical details
Take this simple step to save time. Write down all important bibliographical details when reading your sources of information, including their authors, titles, publication dates, and so on.
Read and analyze
Read each source that you have critically and search for arguments on related issues instead of facts. Take notes and organize ideas or themes. Consider the use of a concept map or a table to show how different sources relate to one another. Evaluate them by determining:
- Key concepts and terms;
- Relevance to specific areas;
- Credibility and authoritativeness;
- Major patterns, trends, and relationships;
- Structure of arguments;
- Similarities and differences;
- Gaps that require your further research.
How to outline your literature review?
Start with making a strong thesis because it’s an important part in any introduction that tells readers about your subject and argument or overall perspective.
The introduction of your literature review should provide a brief outline of:
- Its scope and aspects that you’ll discuss;
- Reasons to write it and why your chosen topic is important;
- Organizational pattern;
- Your selection criteria.
How to structure body paragraphs?
Every paragraph in the main body of your literature review should discuss a separate theme relevant to your chosen subject and show a clear connection between all sources. Ensure that you analyze each one critically to pinpoint their contribution to the overall theme of your literature review. What are basic literature review parts? The main body should include:
- Historical backgrounds;
- Principal questions;
- Previous studies;
- General conclusions;
- Mainstream and alternative points of view.
The conclusion of your literature review should provide readers with a brief summary of:
- Any interesting areas for further research;
- Basic disagreements and agreements;
- Your overall perspective and results.
Why do you need a checklist?
You need a checklist for any literature review to make sure that you did the following:
- Identifying credible and appropriate academic or scholarly sources;
- Outlining its scope and purpose;
- Analyzing and critiquing all readings;
- Recording basic bibliographic details for citations and other purposes;
- Writing the main parts of your outline;
- Determining gaps in research or study;
- Discussing different viewpoints on your subject;
- Exploring theories, methodologies, models, and hypotheses;
- Checking spelling and punctuation.
When to get help?
The above-mentioned tips can help you simplify the process of writing a literature review, but don’t hesitate to get our professional assistance if you still have any difficulties. We have a team of qualified experts ready to help students in any situation and complete academic assignments of any complexity level. Your effective literature review solution is only a few clicks away. Order custom writing services of the highest quality and earn better grades.