Nova A.
Nova A.

Learn How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

6 min read

Published on: Jun 30, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

Write a Literature Review

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A literature review is a significant part of the research paper. It is an in-depth study and analysis of scholarly sources on a particular topic. In addition, this writing piece provides an overview of the current knowledge, relevant theories, research methods, and gaps in the study.

When a student is assigned a research paper, a literature review is submitted before the final document. It shows the researcher’s knowledge of the subject and a clearer image of what to study.

When writing the review, it is essential to learn how it is drafted professionally. This blog is written to study how to write a literature review correctly and make the research paper successful.

Importance of Literature Review

A literature review section of the research paper analyzes and evaluates the existing knowledge and theories on a specific topic. The sources include research papers, books, journals, scholarly articles, and legit reports that a researcher analyzes to conduct his research.

Moreover, a literature review focuses on the previous studies and their limitations. The writer also discusses the research question and its relevance to the study to support his claim.

Writing a literature review is of great importance. Whether drafting it for your research paper, thesis, or dissertation, a literature review is essential. The following are the reasons why a literature review should be written:

  • Presents the writer’s understanding and knowledge of the topic
  • A literature review develops a theoretical framework for your research.
  • It also paves the way for the research methodologies for the writer.
  • Studies the gaps and limitations in the previous studies to contribute to the field
  • Resolve conflicts among the previous studies.

How to Write a Literature Review?

Like every other formal piece of writing, a literature review requires a proper process and structure to be effective. If you are drafting this document for the first time, follow the procedure step by step.

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1. Choose Relevant Literature Sources

Before selecting the sources and literary works, it is essential to have a clear and definite topic. Once you have a focused research question, finding a literary source will be more comfortable.It is important to keep in mind that the sources you choose should be relevant to the topic.

Whereas, if writing a separate assignment, the review should have a central focused question. This question is answered in the literature review without collecting the original data by reviewing existing publications.

Look for credible sources such as articles, journals, and books that perfectly complement your topic. Moreover, gather related keywords and fundamental concepts for your research subject.

2. Analyze and Evaluate the Sources

Reading every source thoroughly is impossible. Professionals suggest to analyzing and evaluate sources that relate best to your topic. To analyze the chosen sources, determine the following factors and elements.

  • The major problem or question discussed.
  • The key concepts
  • How are those key points defined?
  • Key theories and methods
  • Did the research use an innovative approach or a defined framework?
  • Results of the study
  • How does the work relate to other literature in the field?
  • The contribution of work in the understanding of your topic.
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the research.

To ensure which source is adding to your research, search how many times it has been used in other works. If it is popularly used, it means it is influential to the field.

Moreover, keep in mind that you only consider the latest literature for science-related research. At the same time, old historical perspectives can also study for humanities.

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3. Take Frequent Notes

While reviewing and evaluating sources, take frequent notes. These notes will later incorporate into your review.

To avoid plagiarism and cheating, keep track of all the sources along with the citations. These notes will be helpful in creating the annotated bibliography as well.

Keep in mind the formatting style required to structure your paper and follow it in your literature review.

4. Identify the Connections Between the Sources

Before you organize the data for your literature review, it is important to determine the relationship between the sources. Identify the following elements to study the connection:

  • Identify the trends in theories, methods, and results and how certain approaches changed over time?
  • Determine the themes of the literature.
  • The conflicts and contradictions between the sources.
  • Do the theories or studies influenced change the direction of the field?
  • What are the gaps, limitations, and weaknesses of the literature?

5. Develop a Literature Review Outline

The information for your literature review can organize in multiple ways. According to the length and the other requirements, choose a strategy to outline your document.

  • Chronological - This is the simplest structure through which the writer develops the topic over time. Instead of summarizing the sources in order, analyze the patterns and key debates that shaped the field.
  • Methodological - If the gathered sources use different research methods and are from different fields, compare the results obtained. Include the following analysis:
    • Findings obtained from the qualitative and quantitative research
    • How is the topic analyzed? Through a theoretical or empirical approach?
    • Arrange the literature in different sections such as historical, cultural, and social.
  • Thematic - If there are multiple themes in the sources, you can organize your literature review into subsections.
  • Theoretical - The literature review also discusses various theories, models, key concepts, and definitions. It can be used to create a framework for your research studies.

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6. Draft the Literature Review

A literature review is a piece of formal writing that needs to be structured in order to be effective. This document is divided into three major sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraphs
  3. Conclusion

Once you have decided on the outline, start writing your literature review. The first section to draft is the introduction. Present the following information in this part:

  • Purpose of the literature review
  • Literature gaps and limitations
  • Background information of the topic
  • Scope of the literature and your research objectives
  • Hypothesized results

After briefly presenting the introduction section, provide a detailed body section. The body is the main part of your review, so keep it informative and direct. Add the following elements in this section:

  • Overview of the main points of the sources
  • Interpret sources and their findings
  • Peasant strengths and weakness

The above information in the literature review should lead the audience to a conclusion. To conclude your literature review, summarize the key findings and present the importance of the results obtained.

After completing the conclusion paragraphs, proofread and make edits if required. Make sure that your document is free from all errors and mistakes.

Literature Review Examples

If writing a literature review for your research paper first time, you will need some examples to get started. Carefully examine the examples provided below to understand how a well-structured literature review is written.

Literature Review Writing Tips

Knowing the correct writing procedure is not enough. To help students write their literature reviews correctly, expert writers of have gathered some amazing tips and tricks to follow.

  • Spend time identifying relevant sources for your literature review
  • Sources should be directly related to the research problem
  • Rely on primary and relevant sources
  • Critically analyze the research design and findings of the sources
  • Describe the research procedures
  • Analyze statistical as well as integrated analytic methods
  • Choose a literature structure that best suits your research and theme
  • Divide all the gathered data clearly into sections
  • Gather data from books or articles.
  • Make sure to cite properly to avoid plagiarism.

A research paper decides whether a student should be granted the degree or not. Therefore, it should be professionally written no matter what. Each part of it should be structured and well defined.

If writing a research paper is challenging for you, we advise getting professional writing help. is an essay writing company that provides help and guidance to students for all their academic needs.

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Nova A.


Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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