A literature review can be a stand-alone paper or part of your research project. It involves critical analysis and interpretation of existing literature in your area of interest. To some, this seems like a daunting process.
Moreover, it may be challenging to find reliable literature review writing services, to turn to for some assistance. However, as with many writing exercises, the key to successful completion is knowing where to start.
Below, is a step by step guide when writing a research literature review:
Getting Started on Writing a Literature Review
Step 1: Define the Topic and target audience
Whatever the style of your literature review, be it APA style literature review, or not; a brilliant paper is on that’s:
- Has a well-defined scope
- Interesting to you
- Relevant to the field
A clearly defined topic of literature review enables you to offer valuable insight into the works you draw from. In that, you get to divide the relevant source materials into core sources and those that you touch on lightly.
Step 2: Collect, select and evaluate Literature
Developing a list of relevant keywords is necessary for the research process. Use this information when looking up useful publications related to your research question. Pay attention to the reference list of relevant sources.
Seek out the materials with recurring citations. To determine the relevance of a publication, read through the abstract of the identified pieces. Primary sources are more credible than other reviews.
Take notes as you read. It will help you save time. Also, in doing so, you create a rough draft of your review. Keep track of your sources, too.
When writing the Literature Review
Step 3: Focus on Structure
First drafts are often full of errors. Therefore, you should put more emphasis on the outline of the review in this draft. The structure acts as the foundation of the material.
It includes the type of literature you are writing, the outline of your ideas, and the thesis. Once you have a clear picture of this, then shift your attention to developing the content. At this stage, it’s advisable to keep writing even if your sentences don’t sound right.
You will polish up the clumsy sentences at the editing stage. The same applies to style.
Step 4: Keep it focused but broad
A successful review is one that finds a balance between focus and targeting a general audience. In that, in the case of a need for interdisciplinary study, your piece won’t be considered, too focused.
However, you should ensure that you only include relevant material. Otherwise, it becomes a summary of a big stack of articles. Also, this may make it difficult to make a coherent point.
Therefore, it would help if you thoroughly examined the core articles and highlighting others with less depth.
Critical Step in any Literature Review
Step 5: Get Feedback
Seek feedback from a variety of colleagues. It enables you to get different perspectives on the draft. A fresh mind may help you identify inaccuracies, ambiguities, and inconsistencies that may be present in your paper.
Consult with your thesis supervisor, too.
- Essential Literature review writing tips
1. Be consistent and critical:
An authoritative review of literature is one that enables the reader to understand the research question, areas of contention, and achievements in the reviewed field. To achieve this, you need to summarize and critically discuss the literature.
It includes identifying problems in methodology and highlighting gaps in research. Also, ensure consistency in your communication. Say using active vs. passive voice, or present vs. past tense.
2. Add to the Conversation
It demonstrates that you thoroughly explored the existing research in your area of interest. That means you need to involve critical thinking in writing the review. It could be in the form of offering predictions or critiquing the methodology.
If it’s an argumentative review, ensure to include opposing viewpoints in the content.
3. Tie the sources together
It’s a necessary step in working out the structure of the review. It involves identifying trends and patterns in existing publications, themes, and debates. An analysis that shows this makes your review stronger.
Remember when writing a literature review, it’s paramount to be up to date but not ignorant of earlier studies. Incorporate the above steps into the process to make it less daunting.