Learn how to write a review of literature.

Learn how to write a review of literature.

What is a review of literature?

The format of a review of literature may vary from discipline to discipline and from assignment to assignment.

A review may be a self-contained unit — an end in itself — or a preface to and rationale for engaging in primary research. A review is a required part of grant and research proposals and often a chapter in theses and dissertations.

Generally, the purpose of a review is to analyze critically a segment of a published bod of skill through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles.

Writing the introduction

In the introduction, you should:

  • Define or identify the general topic, issue, or area of concern, thus providing an adequate context for reviewing the literature.
  • Point out overall trends in what has been published about the topic; or conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, and conclusions; or gaps in research and scholarship; or a single problem or fresh perspective of instantaneous interest.
  • Establish the writer’s reason (point of view) for reviewing the literature; explain the criteria to be used in analyzing and comparing literature and the organization of the review (sequence); and, when necessary, state why certain literature is or is not included (scope).

Writing the figure

In the assets, you should:

  • Group research studies and other types of literature (reviews, theoretical articles, case studies, etc.) according to common denominators such as qualitative versus quantitative approaches, conclusions of authors, specific purpose or objective, chronology, etc.
  • Summarize individual studies or articles with as much or as little detail as each merits according to its comparative importance in the literature, remembering that space (length) denotes significance.
  • Provide the reader with strong “umbrella” sentences at beginnings of paragraphs, “signposts” across, and brief “so what” summary sentences at intermediate points in the review to aid in understanding comparisons and analyses.
  • Writing the conclusion

    In the conclusion, you should:

  • Summarize major contributions of significant studies and articles to the bod of skill under review, maintaining the concentrate established in the introduction.
  • Evaluate the current “state of the art” for the bod of skill reviewed, pointing out major methodological flaws or gaps in research, inconsistencies in theory and findings, and areas or issues pertinent to future examine.
  • Conclude by providing some insight into the relationship inbetween the central topic of the literature review and a larger area of explore such as a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or a profession.
  • To learn more about literature reviews, take a look at our workshop on Writing Literature Reviews of Published Research.

    Last updated: March 6, 2017

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    Learn how to write a review of literature.

    What is a review of literature?

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