How to Write a Literature Review like a Pro
If your college requires you to undergraduate thesis, then chances are that they want you to write a literature review. If you’re writing a literature review for academic purposes, then this document demonstrates that you have learned from the previous publications and are ready to work on new ideas.
Thus, needless to say, writing a literature review is very important for students pursuing or looking to pursue higher studies. In this article, we'll present a few updated tips to help you pen down a literature review in the best way possible. Getting nervous about your literature review? Thoughts like "can anyone help me with writing my thesis" come to your mind more and more often? You are in the right place!
What is a Literature Review, anyway?
A literature review is a thoroughly-written, properly researched document discussing published information in a particular niche or area. The whole process comprises analyzing, evaluating, and finally researching a topic with or without giving your thought on it. Writing literature reviews has four main objectives:
- Surveying literature in a given area of study.
- Summarizing the information contained therein.
- Critically analyzing the information gathered, identifying gaps and limitations, and reviewing other areas of controversy.
- Finally, presenting the literature in a better chronological manner.
The research presented by you should clearly show the readers that you have put enough work and possess in-depth knowledge of the research topic. This is the reason that we invest a lot of time researching before writing a detailed literature review.
How to Write a Literature Review?
- Define your Goal
Since everything starts with a well-defined goal, you need to have a goal in mind for your argument paper. The goal should be as specific as possible. For example, decide if you want to develop a hypothesis to examine an existing paper or provide a self-contained review of it.
You’ll have to write down the purpose at the beginning of your paper which will benefit the readers. In this case, you’ll be writing a literature review.
- Conduct Research Before Writing
In literature review writing, the more knowledge you possess, the better. When conducting research, figure out the best articles written on your proposed topic, who the top voices in your domain are, and most pertinent publications.
- Summarize Selected Literature
From your research, you need to pick selected literature that will support your literature review. So, draw the context, analyze the body, and establish the arguments, discussion of a research paper, and hypothesis to the publication you want to create.
- Write Your Own Review
Now, it’s time to develop your own research work. Start writing from a viewpoint and include all relevant details from the summaries you have prepared. Then, lastly, supplement it with your own review.
- Trim Down
Your literature review should be as concise and to-the-point as possible. Remove the section which sounds too generic or completely irrelevant to the argument you’re trying to make.
- Include References
References, sources, and citations are important in dissertations and research literature. So don’t forget to include them at the bottom. Check how to cite a dissertation MLA or how to cite a thesis in Chicago.
So, this was just an overview of conducting a literature review. There are some important tips you need to bear in mind while preparing the article.
7 Important Tips
Writing your own review on a selected topic can be overwhelming. There are predefined starting points and you will never know what the end will be. But you can incorporate the below tips into your research and writing process to make your life easier:
- Clarify before writing
This is such an important concept, yet often overlooked. Without clarity, your publication will lack specificity. You have to get clarity on the number of sources you want to include, type of sources (book, journals, websites), and how you will go about writing it. When in doubt, seek advice from your instructor or peers.
- Narrow down your topic
There will be hundreds or even thousands of articles written on the topic you’ve chosen. You won’t be including everything. Narrow down your topic and include only the relevant articles. This will also help you get clarity on the content.
- Find models
Don’t start from scratch when it comes to theming your paper. Take inspiration from as much literature as you can. You will find a common theme used in the topics of your area of the subject. This will save you a lot of time. The bibliography or reference section of the research papers you have selected is a good starting point for finding models.
- Organize the body for a seamless reading experience
Organizing your review paper is crucial. Depending on the length of the literature, divide your copy into multiple subsections. And each subheading should entirely deal with one aspect. You can organize your text in four ways.
In this method, you organize your text by the development of the topic over the years. So, the publications which came out in the 1990s are placed ahead of those that came out in the 2000s.
If you can identify a few recurring themes in the previous publications, then you can organize them in themes.
If your subject deals with a wide variety of research methods from multiple disciplines, then it’s better to organize your workaround methods.
You can use a theoretical framework for organizing your article where you discuss various theories, models, and definitions.
- Prioritize current sources
Academia is not a static world, but a dynamic one which keeps evolving. New publications come and the older theories become irrelevant. Especially in a science discipline, each experiment conducted has a tremendous effect on the existing arguments, hypotheses, relationships, and all.
So you need to make sure that you are taking inspiration from current sources. This will put you in an advantageous position that you have done your research properly.
- Cite sources properly
You need to cite the sources and publications which you have summarized in your literature review. This will help readers to evaluate the authenticity of your paper and make further arguments before concluding.
- Revise and then revise again
Learn more about thesis writing format in our guide. Before you submit it for acceptance, you need to revise it multiple times to make your work look as perfect and polished as possible.
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The Next Steps
Follow the steps mentioned above and we are sure, you will be able to write a flawless literature review. However, things look tough, don’t hesitate to hire our professional writing services. Contact us now.