Have you ever written a literature review before? What should be the structure of a review? If you have written a review before, you may know the procedure involved. If you haven't, don't worry; we will go through a step-by-step process.
A literature review is a paper or section of a paper that gathers relevant sources of information on a topic and discusses them in a conversation with each other. Therefore, from this definition, there are two types of literature reviews.
This guide will give you the steps of writing a literature review, the reasons for writing a literature review, the types of reviews, the organization of the document, and the tips to apply to write an effective document.
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There are several reasons for you to write a literature review, and they include the following:
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Several literature reviews are grouped according to discipline and academic level. Although these are just four basic types of literature reviews, you can check more types of reviews in this guide.
This article gives seven steps for writing a literature review. We have summarized our steps as follows;
Define your topic or the research question for your readers to understand. Also, as the writer, you should know what you will discuss to write a coherent research summary.
It's best to write a description of the research question and area and even identify the keywords. Additionally, consider the relevant dates, geographies, methods, and conflicting points of view. The above criteria will help you to concentrate only on the relevant content to your research question.
Your topic should have the following features;
Conduct your research on the best databases that will contain relevant information. Focus on peer-reviewed articles, scholarly journals, and published books. Read through the titles and abstracts to choose the best and most related content.
As you search for these sources, use different keywords and tools. Some search tools include DBLP, Google Scholar, ISI Proceedings, JSTOR Search, Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science.
There are several tips to apply in this step;
For the safety of your data, save your search results in a citation management tool like Zotero or EndNote. If doing your research in a library, you can always check with your librarian if your research is comprehensive.
After research confirmation, start reading and evaluating the content. Take notes of each search. Evaluate each article's strengths, weaknesses, biases, methodologies, and thoroughness. Finally, group the findings into two: those sources that support the reasons for doing your research and second the articles that answer the research queries.
Outline your review by organizing the notes. A good practice is taking notes as you read through the materials. Note any interesting information, insights into organizing the review, and the thoughts that cross your mind on the research. When you finish reading, at least you will have a rough draft of the review, though it needs some rewriting and structuring.
You use any of the following patterns in creating a literature review outline depending on your research's goal;
NB: As you make notes, remember to use quotation marks verbatim.
There are two types of reviews, either a mini or full review. So, the type you choose will determine the content that you need. If you need a full review, this calls for detailed research and more word count.
Again, if doing a mini-review, your academic level determines the length of the paper. For instance, a dissertation review will be longer than an undergraduate research paper.
The detailed step is now the writing process. Remember that the literature review is just a summary of the main research; thus, avoid including the details. However, from your prior research and the notes you made, you should have the critical results of the source.
Ensure your report flows and use the appropriate phrases to show transition and signal your discussion direction. Let your work be coherent and use specific research vocabulary. Remember, your work should be interesting to the reader and easy to understand.
After writing the first draft, read it carefully, and edit and revise as needed. Repeat this process as required to ensure you submit error-free work. If possible, find someone to proofread your work before submission. Then, again, always pass it through the plagiarism check tool.
Always apply the review and writing tips discussed in other articles like research papers, narrative essays, expository essays, etc.
After you polish your review, it's time to incorporate it into the paper. However, this is an optional step depending on the type of review that you have. If you remember, in the introduction, we said you a review is a full paper or a section: full-length, stand-alone review) or review of a paper.
So, if your review is a paper section, you should merge it into the main paper, like a thesis or dissertation. If it's a full paper, it should be complete with an introduction, body, and conclusion.
When writing the review, you rely on other peoples' work and ideas; thus, always acknowledge them. While writing, remember to create a comprehensive list of citations and follow the appropriate style like Chicago and others.
That's the elaborate procedure of writing a literature review; if you need help writing one, reach out to our able team.
To ensure you write a presentable and convincing literature review apply these tips;
Keep learning for more guidelines to use when writing a literature review.
Even as you apply the above writing tips, appropriate writing style, and format, there are essential principles to follow. There are these key tips that you shouldn't forget and cuts across all the academic writing;
We have given you detailed steps and tips to apply when writing a literature review. Always read through the instructions first and understand which kind of review you need. Then, start your research as early as possible to have sufficient time to synthesize your content. There is no harm in asking for clarification when you feel lost.
Again, always stick to the word limit and the referencing style guidelines. However, ensure that you communicate logically and conventionally. We are always available if you need our literature review writing help. Our services are easy to access and affordable.
Melanie is a seasoned writer with more than 8 years of experience. She is passionate about academia and works off the clock to ensure she write the topnotch content for her readers.