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Writing a literature review? Don’t know how or what to write?
We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help through the process. Learn what this task is, some essential pre-writing tips, and how to craft every section of your review.
What’s the Definition of Literature Reviews?
What is a literature review, and why do we write it?
It is a type of academic task that examines main publications on a certain subject area. This write-up gives a scholar/student a view of the data available on a topic. Also, it shows the areas not covered by current research.
Literature reviews are mostly crafted as preliminary sections of an assignment, such as a thesis. In such a case, they give a foundation for the new research to be discussed.
However, a review of the available works on a subject may be done as a standalone task.
Why Do People Write Literature Reviews?
Literature reviews provide an excellent guide on a topic and give scholars a solid background of an area they are about to explore. As a student, you’ll be expected to review works in your focus area when crafting your dissertation.
Studying a literature review example might help you get the feeling of how this section should look. While examples come in all forms and sizes, the basic arrangement and procedure of crafting this piece are similar.
In general, adding this section gives you an opportunity to:
- Prove that you comprehend the subject and its context;
- Create assumptions and research approaches;
- Express how your study will add to the discussion or address a gap in the subject;
- Demonstrate your credibility as a researcher and writer.
If you’re working on a standalone review, assess available works and depict a comprehension of the subject’s debates.
Here’s an in-depth start-to-finish guide on writing a literature review.
Explore to Find Relevant Articles
Need to master how to write a literature review quickly with no prior experience?
Begin by establishing what area you would like to examine and then amass literature on that subject. If you include this analysis as a component of your write-up, your study’s objectives should guide you.
If the literature analysis is an assignment on its own, you’ll need to narrow down to a precise topic/query. The query should be possible to answer using already written work rather than a new study.
To properly go about source gathering, pay attention to these 2 steps:
Write Down Keywords You Will Use
After you’ve established your focus point, come up with a pertinent collection of terms and phrases. For every vital point, write similar and closely related words. You can jolt more words to your collection later on as you gather sources.
Look for Appropriate Publications Using the Key Phrases
Begin digging for your materials in various resources, for instance, your school library’s catalog, Google Scholar, etc. Make your work easier and more precise by using connectors like “AND” and “OR” in between keywords.
Assess and Filter Your Literature
The next step on how to write a literature review in the UK is to assess the works you have collected. It’s impossible to include every piece you’ve come across, especially if the topic is widely covered. You also can’t read every article or journal to establish whether it fits your needs.
So, assess the criteria below to know how to pick your works:
- The focus query the scholar has tackled;
- The standout points and how they’re explained;
- Research approach;
- Article’s/journal’s findings and recommendations;
- The critical claims and eye-openers from work.
Ensure all the sources you finally end up with are trustworthy and stick to known facts and assumptions. Also, add pieces of literature cited several times on Google Scholar. That means that they are authoritative.
If your course is in the fast-paced fields (like the Sciences), stick to 2-3 years old publications. As for Humanities, Arts, History, and Literature, you can use works that are up to 10 years old.
Jot Short Notes and Organize Your References
As you study and assess your publications, use anything useful when you finally write your review. Also, organize your sources when you write this brief not to plagiarize other people’s work accidentally. Creating a reference page/bibliography at this stage would be a good move.
Highlight the Main Concepts, Discussions, and Voids in the Works
Knowing how to write a literature review in the UK also entails finding links between your different sources. From what you’ve studied and jotted down, identify common patterns, similar/contradicting arguments, gaps in the publication, significant ideas, etc. Working out this phase will help give you direction and a conceptualization of your article’s layout.
Make a Structural Preview
Like the literature review example that you see online, you should write a review that adheres to an accepted presentation.
After you have all the materials that you need, decide on the format you’ll follow. The thing to remember when it comes to structuring is to grasp the format you decide to use.
You can write/arrange your work:
This literature review structure follows the studies and developments on a topic from the past to the present. When you use this tactic, ensure that you’re not just listing admissible literature according to dates. Ensure your material is valuable by analyzing, discussing, and interpreting key developments, trends, and disparities.
Want to know how to write a literature review using a thematic format?
For this format, you arrange information and materials based on particular concepts. Therefore, you create subheadings or subsections based on critical ideas you’ve established.
This method involves comparing and analyzing literature based on the research methods employed. You can review sources based on how the topic has been tackled and how results were arrived at. This technique influences the type of sources you write about in your review and how you write them.
The final way is to follow a theoretical order. In this case, you write about your sources based on one or more theoretical ideas or key points.
Write Your Review
How to write a literature review part by part?
Once you have done your information gathering, organized your literature, and created a great skeleton, it’s time to write. No matter the topic or approach, your review should have 3 essential parts, i.e., introduction, body, and conclusion.
What is a literature review introduction like?
The opening is usually a short description that gives the reader a brief overview of the review. You could briefly write about the topic, central theme, organizational pattern, etc.
The body is the central part you will write and includes discussions of the relevant sources. Here, the information may be organized in any of the 4 structures discussed above.
When debating how to do a literature review body section, consider how long you intend your write-up to be.
Then, divide it into digestible subsections and ensure that you:
- Start your paragraphs with captivating topic sentences;
- Connect sections using relevant transitions;
- Synthesize, evaluate, and interpret your sources;
- Write coherently, legibly, and without water.
Finish by highlighting the main points you’ve gathered and their importance. Don’t forget to write your conclusions from your assessment. You can also write about where you think talks are going to go from there.
FAQs on Literature Reviews
Now that you know how to write a literature review, do you still have questions?
We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions regarding this piece of work below.
Check it out:
Where Are Literature Reviews Placed?
Literature write-ups be assigned alone or as components of other documents. If you write it as a constituent of your dissertation, the review should be close to the beginning. Place it after your introduction and just before you write your research methods and conceptual framework.
What’s the Goal of Literature Reviews?
A review of the prevailing literature in a subject area is done for a variety of reasons. It helps students identify information on a topic and the problems/gaps that their new study can address. By studying what’s available on a subject, you can write about new ideas and avoid focusing on what’s already been done.
What’re the 4 Main Objectives of Literature Reviews?
Students write a literature review to know what’s already published concerning a topic in question. They also identify gaps or problems in the materials that could be addressed by new studies. It helps inform the study objectives, theoretical assumptions, and questions. Lastly, learners can compare or contrast with findings from new research.
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