How to Write a Literature Review: Tips, Example, Outline, Templates

 

how to write the literature review

Jun 17,  · Introduction. An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review Division of works under review into categories (e.g. those in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely) Explanation of how each work is similar to Author: Ken Lyons. May 23,  · This also means you will not be writing the literature review at any one time, but constantly working on it before, during, and after your study is complete. Here are some steps that will help you begin and follow through on your literature review. Step 1: Choose a topic to write about—focus on and explore this topic. Purpose of the literature review The purpose of the literature review is to provide a critical written account of the current state of research on a selected topic: Identifies areas of prior scholarship ; Places each source in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the specific issue, area of research, or theory under review.


Literature Reviews - The Writing Center


This handout will explain what literature reviews are and how to write the literature review insights into the form and construction of literature reviews in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. And how to write the literature review review does not necessarily mean that your reader wants you to give your personal opinion on whether or not you liked these sources.

A literature review discusses published information in how to write the literature review particular subject area, and sometimes information in a particular subject area within a certain time period. A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information.

It might give a new interpretation how to write the literature review old material or combine new with old interpretations.

Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, how to write the literature review major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant. In a research paper, you use the literature as a foundation and as support for a new insight that you contribute. The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.

Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone. For professionals, they are useful reports that keep them up to date with what is current in the field. For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the writer in his or her field. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers.

Literature reviews are written occasionally in the humanities, but mostly in the sciences and social sciences; in experiment and lab reports, they constitute a section of the paper. Sometimes a literature review is written as a paper in itself. If your assignment is not very specific, seek clarification from your instructor:. Look for other literature reviews in your area of interest or in the discipline and read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or ways to organize your final review.

There are hundreds or even thousands of articles and books on most areas of study. The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to get a good survey of the material. Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. In the sciences, for instance, treatments for medical problems are constantly changing according to the latest studies. Information even two years old could be obsolete.

However, if you are writing a review in the humanities, history, or social sciences, a survey of the history of the literature may be what is needed, because what is important is how perspectives have changed through the years or within a certain time period. Try sorting through some other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects.

You can also use this method to consider what is currently of interest to scholars in this field and what is not. How to write the literature review literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized.

This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together. Do they present one or different solutions?

Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? How well do they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory? Do they reveal a trend in the field?

A raging debate? Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review. Here are a couple of examples:. Now what is the most effective way of presenting the information? What are the most important topics, how to write the literature review, subtopics, etc.

And in what order should you present them? Develop an organization for your review at both a global and local level:. The following provides a brief description of the content of each:. Once you have the basic categories in place, then you must consider how you will present the sources themselves within the body of your paper.

Create an organizational method to focus this section even further. To help you come up with an overall organizational framework for your review, consider the following scenario:. But these articles refer to some British biological studies performed on whales in the early 18th century.

So you check those out. Then you look up a book written in with information on how how to write the literature review whales have been portrayed in other forms of art, such as in Alaskan poetry, in French painting, or on whale bone, as the whale hunters in the late 19th century used to do. This makes you wonder about American whaling methods during the time portrayed in Moby Dick, so you find some academic articles published in the last five years on how accurately Herman Melville portrayed the whaling scene in his novel.

Sometimes, though, you might need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you. Put in only what is necessary. Here are a few other sections you might want to consider:. Questions for Further Research: What questions about the field has the review sparked?

How will you further your research as a result of the review? There are a few guidelines you should follow during the writing stage as well. Here is a sample paragraph from a literature review about sexism and language to illuminate the following discussion:. In the example above, the writers refer to several other sources when making their point. A literature review in this sense is just like any other academic research paper. Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence to show that what you are saying is valid.

Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. Falk and Mills do not use any direct quotes. That is because the survey nature of the literature review does not allow for in-depth discussion or detailed quotes from the text.

Some short quotes here and there are okay, though, if you want to emphasize a point, or if what the author said just cannot be rewritten in your own words, how to write the literature review. Notice that Falk and Mills do quote certain terms that were coined by the author, not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. But if you find yourself wanting to put in more quotes, check with your instructor, how to write the literature review. Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each paragraph as well as throughout the review.

Notice that Falk and Mills weave references to other sources into their own text, but they still maintain their own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with their own ideas and their own words. The sources support what Falk and Mills are saying. For more information, please see our handout on plagiarism.

Draft in hand? Spending a lot of time revising is a wise idea, because your main objective is to present the material, not the argument. Be sure to use terminology familiar to your audience; get rid of unnecessary jargon or slang. We consulted these works while writing this handout.

Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, how to write the literature review, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial.

We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback. Anson, Chris M. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers. New York: Longman, New York: Harcourt Brace, Lamb, Sandra E. Berkeley, how to write the literature review, Calif. Rosen, Leonard J. The Allyn and Bacon Handbook.

Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Troyka, how to write the literature review, Lynn Quitman. Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers. Upper Saddle River, N. Make a Gift. Literature Reviews.

 

How to Write a Literature Review (For Dummies) | Homework Lab

 

how to write the literature review

 

Purpose of the literature review The purpose of the literature review is to provide a critical written account of the current state of research on a selected topic: Identifies areas of prior scholarship ; Places each source in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the specific issue, area of research, or theory under review. Jun 17,  · Introduction. An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review Division of works under review into categories (e.g. those in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely) Explanation of how each work is similar to Author: Ken Lyons. A well-written literature review should provide your readers a deep insight on the writings that helped you build your research. However, it shouldn’t just be a sequence of names and data. A literature review is not just a summary. It should have a solid structure with clear explanation and, above all, .