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Tips on Literature Review Writing – Literature Review Examples

Tips on Literature Review Writing – Literature Review Examples

When composing a research paper on a subject, you'll often need to incorporate an overview of any past research conducted on that topic. For instance, if your research paper is describing an experiment of fear conditioning, you'll probably need to give an overview of previous research o fear conditioning. This overview is what is called a literature review.

Types of Literature Reviews

They come in various forms. They can be part of a research paper (for instance as part of the introduction). In addition, they can be one chapter of a doctoral thesis. A review can also stand-alone as distinct articles. In other courses, you may be requested to compose a research paper that is itself a literature review. Moreover, you may be asked to include a literature review as part of a bigger research paper.

A literature review can be composed using various styles. They may differ in the way previous research is evaluated and also the way in which the review is organized. The different stylistic variations in literature reviews include:

  • Chronological vs. categorical and other kinds of organization - In most cases, the literature review starts with past research and continues until it ends with the latest research. Moreover, research can be discussed by category (for instance groupings closely related to studies) without considering chronological order. Furthermore, research can be discussed regarding contrasting viewpoints.

  • Summarizing previous work vs. critical evaluation - In most cases, past research is described and summarized. Moreover, in other cases, the writer compares, contrasts and might critique past research (talks about their strengths and weaknesses).

Generally, all literature reviews have one common attribute: they don't present new research. Instead, they offer an overview of previous research on a certain subject.

How to Write a Literature Review

When composing a literature review, it's good to rely on the steps below. These procedures aren't necessarily for composing a literature review that becomes part of a larger article. They can also be utilized for composing a complete article that is itself a literature review, even though these kind of reviews are usually more detailed and in-depth.

  1. Identify and Define the Topic to be Reviewed

In literature reviews, the topic, which is commonly a research question of some kind, must be identified and defined as coherently as possible. You ought to have an idea of what you'll be reviewing to search for references effectively and to compose a clear summary of the research on it. In this section, it can be helpful to compose a description of the research question or subject to be reviewed, and also to pinpoint any keywords that you'll be utilizing to search for pertinent research.

  1. Carry Out Literature Research for Your Literature Review

Use a variety of keywords to search databases that may have pertinent articles. You ought to concentrate on peer-reviewed, scholarly articles. Even though published books can be helpful, peer-reviewed articles are mostly considered to be the 'gold standard' of scientific research. Go through titles and abstracts, choose and obtain articles, and then save your searches as required.

  1. Go Through the Research You Have Found and Take Notes

Before embarking on writing your literature review, take in as much information as possible. Go through articles and books that you've found. While doing so, remember to take notes. The notes should incorporate anything that will be useful in advancing your thinking on the subject and in assisting you to write the literature review (like ideas, or page numbers that index vital information). Most references might end up becoming more useful than others. Moreover, you might notice patterns between various sources, and some sources may allude to other sources of possible interest. This is mostly the most time-consuming segment of the review writing process. Nonetheless, it's also where you get to learn more details about the topic to be reviewed.

  1. Organize Your Notes and Then Create an Outline

In this segment, you're close to composing the review itself. However, it's important to first think about all the reading that you have done. Which kinds of patterns stand out? Do the various sources converge on a consensus? What unsolved questions still remain? Look at your notes, and as you do, mull over how you'll present this research in your literature review. Will you recap or critically evaluate? Are you going to utilize a chronological, methodological, or another type of organizational structure? It can also be useful to come up with an outline of how your literature review will be structured.

  1. Compose the Literature Review and Revise as Required

The final segment deals with writing. When writing your literature review, remember that they are mostly characterized by a summary style whereby previous research is described adequately to explain significant findings but does not incorporate a high level of detail. If readers want to learn about all the particular details of a study, they can look up the references that you cite and go through the original articles themselves. Nevertheless, the extent of emphasis that is given to individual studies might change (more or fewer details might be necessitated depending on how critical or unique a particular study was). After composing the initial draft, you should go through it meticulously, and then edit and revise where necessary. You can give your work to someone else to go through and give you feedback.

  1. Include the Literature Review into Your Research Paper Draft

After the literature review is complete, you ought to incorporate it into your research paper (that is if you're composing the review as one constituent of a larger paper). Depending on the stage at which your paper is at, this may entail amalgamating your literature review into a partially complete introduction segment, composing the rest of the paper around the literature review, or other processes.

More Tips on Writing a Literature Review Examples

The following are additional tips on how to write a literature review:

Full-Length Literature Reviews

Most full-length literature review articles utilize a three-part structure: introduction, where the topic is identified, and any problems in the literature are introduced; body, where the studies that encompass the literature on that subject are discussed; and conclusion, where patterns and points are discussed and the state of what's known regarding the subject is summarized.

Here is a literature review example apa introduction:

"The technical literature of trickling filters is widespread. This is demonstrated by the literature search and critical analysis published by Dow (1971), which quoted over 5,600 references in the literature published up to 1968. A thorough review of the literature is therefore beyond this work's scope. The objective of this chapter is to offer, through discerning reference to some literature, a vivid comprehension of the various chemical, microbiological, and physical processes that happen within trickling filters.

Experimental observations of different trickling filter phenomena are evaluated, and discussions of the conflicting conclusions on the processes of trickling filtration that have been drawn from the experiential evidence are conducted. The chapter is split into two sections. The subject of the initial one is the biological film which is the site of the biological oxidation of organic matter from the wastewater and is thus the core of the trickling filtration process. The other chapter deals with a consideration of the working variables that ascertain the performance of trickling filter performance."

Example of a literature review conclusion:

"This review's objective is to assist the reader to comprehend various aspects posed by the research on rejection of cochlear implants by the deaf community. This is important since non-deaf persons view cochlear implants differently from deaf people, often not realizing there're other viewpoints. There has been discussion and more research done on these viewpoints of the deaf community. Some of the research found was on the deaf culture and its constituents. More research is needed to have a better comprehension of why those who undergo cochlear implants are struggling with identifying with either group. It's vital to do further research on the reasons they feel left out of a group and suffer from low self-esteem."

Literature Reviews as Part of a Larger Paper

Another way of composing a literature review for a research paper is as follows: Begin by writing a one-paragraph description of each article that you peruse. Next, decide how you will order all the paragraphs and merge them in one document. Thirdly, include transitions between the paragraphs, and also an introductory and conclusion paragraph.

A literature review that is part of a bigger research paper usually doesn't have to be thorough. Instead, it should contain most or all of the important studies on a research topic nut not loosely related ones. Literature reviews ought to be enough for the reader to comprehend the main issues and primary findings about a research topic. You may nonetheless need to consult your instructor to ascertain how thorough you need to be.

Advantages of Literature Reviews

Through summarizing previous research on a particular subject, literature review can have several benefits:

  • They assist in setting the stage for later reading about new research on a particular topic (such as if they are put in the introduction of a bigger research paper). They provide useful context and background.

  • A literature review example can assist a writer to learn about a particular subject while in the process of preparing the review. While researching and composing the literature review, the writer gains some knowledge on the subject.

  • A literature review can assist readers to comprehend what is known about a topic without having to find and read through various sources.

Don'ts of Writing a Literature Review

  • Do not air out your personal opinions in a review. For the same reason you don't utilize emotional phases in a review; you're also not supposed to include your personal opinions.

  • You shouldn't make unjustified claims.

  • Absence of referenced page numbers for direct quotations.

  • Utilizing a writer's initial and last name in the text. For instance, use the last name only and the year of publication of the study if you're dealing with a, APA literature review.

  • Making use of non-scholarly sources.


Literature review writing can be a time-consuming and challenging task, particularly given all the research and details involved. However, the information provided above will help you come up with the ideal literature review. Also go through an example of literature review to see how others have done theirs, sometimes, a literature review sample is what you need to fully understand how to write one!