How to Write Literature Review

How to Write Literature Review

Are you familiar with literature reviews? Well, if you're not then this is the right article for you. With us are some of the essential aspects and details you ought to be on the lookout for whenever you're writing a literature review. Stay with us and find out more!

You have the assignment with you. You won't switch to hands-on auto mode and come up with a literature review, would you? No, you not because you're not a robot and besides artificial intelligence hasn't yet got to that level, have it! It's a process and not an event. If at all it were that easy you wouldn't be stuck in your chair reading this ultimate guide. A literature review can be on any topic, and some of these topics are quite demanding and require so much of you. To help you with this let's take a step-by-step approach to this;

What's a literature review? This is a paper that summarizes and evaluates published articles and journals in various fields of study, and all this is done within a specified period. Of note, literature reviews involve collecting multiple theories and ideas on a given subject. They don't have to works of great authors but rather the ones you see fit, or you've been assigned to by your lecturer.

A literature review can as well be a summarization of information sources, but when it comes to this, you ought to follow a specific pattern when it comes to organizing your work. It's a collection of both the synthesis and summary whereby the summary usually is a highlight of the critical details of the source whereas the synthesis reorganization of the presenting information. On a different level, literature reviews can be used to make recommendations to readers on what they ought to focus on and some of the shortcomings that need to be addressed.

Side note; literature reviews are quite different from academic papers in the sense that academic papers focus mainly on formulating arguments that will pose great discussions and can as well include a literature review in their structure. Research papers use the literature review as a basis for bringing out the researcher's intent. Comparing this to the above information we've told you what a literature review is, you could tell the difference.

How to Write Literature Review

Having defined literature reviews, it's safe to move to look at some of the ways on how to write literature review for thesis. For those in a hurry with their research, a literature review could be your shoulder to lean on. However, the pros use them to stay posted with the current trends in the field of research and as well give some background information on the direction of the given research. You'd find such texts being tackled in fields of humanities, science reports and experiments and at times as a stand-alone write-up. In light of this, let us look at some of the fool proof strategies you can use when preparing to write a literature review and during the actual writing process.

Before Writing

Preparations on how to write literature review article ought to be made before a writer goes ahead to draft their paper. How adequate you prepare can determine the outcome of the paper.

  1. Clarifications

The assignment can as well not be clear to you, let this not hold you back from coming up with a leading literature review. Make good use of your environment. You could seek for guidance from your lecturer, senior students with experience on the same or your colleagues with a better understanding. Clarifications on how to write literature review for thesis can be done by looking at the following aspects;

  • The number of reference sources to be included?
  • What categories of sources to use
  • What's the approach to the sources? Is the writer required to assume an argumentative, discussion or critique role?
  1. Focus Your Topic

Looking keenly, you'd notice the several books and articles that have been published with a focus on your field of study. One thing for sure is that if you make good use of the sources, they could help you come up with some amazing topic you could work with if not excel in.

When it comes to how to write literature review for research paper topic, you ought to make good use of your brain and be selective with what you settle for. Ideally, the topic can either be assigned to you by the lecturer, or you can be given the freedom to come up with your own topic. If for example, the instructions come with an already assigned topic, you'll have to sit down and find ways of hacking through with that topic as that is what the lecturer's instructions are. On the contrary, if given a chance to come up with your topic, lucky are you, you're required to make some crucial considerations before choosing a topic. The considerations can be;

  • Think through some of the ideal topics
  • Research the web with a strong focus on some of the trending topics with coverage on your field of study
  • Opt for topics you find quite comfortable
  • Seek for secondary advice from your instructor or seniors with experience on the same
  • Go through the lecture notes you made
  • Go for options of research topics that are up to be reviewed
  • Be time considerate whenever you're choosing your topic
  • Avoid shallow topics or those that are too wide, go for a topic that will help achieve the desired word count with ease
  • Avoid common topics
  1. The Credibility of Your Sources

Based on how to write literature review for research paper some instructions come with instructions on where you ought to find your resources form, others mention the preferred areas you could base your research on. But then again, currently most research sourcing options are time sensitive. Going for the most current and trending sources could give you the most recent and credible information on the subject. For example, research in the file of medicine; information on such a sensitive field tends to be more or less dynamic, changes over and over again depending on current medical inventions -except for the anatomy! There are specific fields like that of history and social sciences where information remains the same despite the sifting time periods.

Nevertheless, there's a catch- the perspective tends to change over time. Now here you'll be required to analyzing the existing information at the same time appreciating the changes in research perspectives that have been adopted over time. To understand more you could read some of the published articles to get a better view on how to write literature review for dissertation sources.

  1. Organizing the Literature Review Paper

Order is essential and how you organize and structure your work will significantly determine the outcome of the whole paper. The sources you've gathered, the information you've collected, the theories you've formulated, the ideas you've stumbled on, how best you can put them across and still achieve the desired effect you had in mind. A quick way through this can be to develop an outline with guided directions on how and where to put specific information but shouldn't be enough for the whole project on how to write a literature review for research paper. Organization on how to write literature review for dissertation you ought to begin by looking at what's primary, and this is the structure of the literature review. Just like most other academic papers use this, literature reviews are not so different, except for the content basis.

Introduction; this is the starting paragraph of your literature review. Some introductions contain a thesis statement customarily made up of two clauses, the dependent and independent clause, which are like two peas in a pod, they go hand in hand. How to write literature review for thesis should help you with bringing out your point of view and stance on the given topic. The introductory section of the literature review welcomes the reader to the text by giving them a brief overview of what the paper is all about. Keep your readers in the loop with what's going on. 

The body; here you'll expound on the information you gathered. You'll mention some of the theories and ideas you came up with based on the presenting research findings. It's a discussion of the given literature be it humanities, social sciences or lab experiments. You ought o organize your information in a sensible, chronological and logical manner. Keep in mind the order of importance; start with the strongest of points and finish with the do without points.

Conclusion; so far what are the limitations and strengths of the paper? You could as well give recommendations for future works on the topic o subject to assist upcoming writers. Based on the research you conducted what some of the possible conclusions that would fit the paper are. Read more on how to write literature review assignment conclusion.

Start Writing the Paper

We've looked at the guide on how to write literature review article structure, information sources and now let's begin composing the text. In this section we also some of the aspects you ought to be on the lookout for!

Looking at how to write literature review example, you'd notice the use of shreds of evidence in sections of the text. Sticking to your angle of view is okay, but highlighting other writer's perspective on the same is a much better option. Concerning other forms of writing, you ought to be able back any theories you come up with, and use of pieces of evidence is the most eligible way out. Defend whatever you're claiming; make us appreciate its validity!

Information selection; go for reliable information and avoid excesses. The topic might be comprehensive, but this is no reason for you throw in all the information you can gather. How you present your information greatly determines the outcome of the paper. Therefore, whether you opt for chronology, themes or methodology be sure to give it your best and keep in mind the standard ways of using them.

Stay true to your own. Remember, you not only researching the literature but also appreciating and highlighting other writer's view on the same subject. This makes you easily susceptible to losing your own; don't let this come to you. Stick your voice throughout the paper; it's a sign of strength that most instructors will appreciate during their marking. Check out previous literature reviews, and you'll understand more on how to write literature review assignment while staying true to your voice.

Revisit your work; you're done composing the draft, of course having captured and touched on the various aspects of what's required, good practice can be to proofread your work. Initially, there were instructions on how to write literature review example with guidelines on what you're required to follow, have you adhered to all? An excellent way to prove this is to revise your paper adequately. Revision can help you correct some of the mistakes you might have made along the writing process. This can be mistakes of grammar, tense, and may be missing out on some instructions. This is done just before composing the final paper for submission. Take your time and avoid being an unnecessary rush.


The above are but a few guidelines on what your literature needs. What your literature review needs is you to step up and do what's best for both of you, and that's coming up with something native and winning. This is not an event but rather processes of hard work and research for at the end of the day you ought to make it count. Remember to stay true to your voice and strive for ingenuity. We hope that this article will impact your literature review writing skills positively.

What are some of the ways on how to write literature review article you'd recommend to a student having trouble with his/her literature review paper? We'd like you to share with us in the comments section below.