Literature Review Essay

Literature Review Essay

Literature reviews are useful tools but they can be a little complex to write. Among planning the structure, looking for the right sources and collecting information, there are so many details to pay attention to. It gets hard to find a way to give the firsts steps. In this article, we tell you the best tips to write a great literature review.

What is a literature review?

A literature review is research that collects scholarly sources that can give an overview of a particular study subject.  The intention is to list which are the most relevant studies and publications about the topic and display them with a structure. The objective of this paper is to show an organized bibliography that demonstrates the state of a topic in the academic world, a field of knowledge or subject of study.

Literature reviews are academic papers, and, as such, they should follow a particular structure, this is to keep a universal code in order to assure that any person can understand the information in them.  To that end, every literature review must contain a general description of the publication, a summary of the main points, a space to explain the gaps in research and a final evaluation of the contribution the publication gave to the topic. A good literature review also includes information about different points in which diverse publications differ from one another.

The main utility that literature reviews have is that they are very handy when you need to inform yourself about a topic but don’t have the time to do thorough research. By reading a literature review, you can have the necessary information to gain a general knowledge of the subject, and it’s the best way to find relevant studies that will guide the rest of your research paper or academic investigation.

How to write a literature review?

It is not too easy to start writing a literature review. Since it’s an academic paper, it has a lot of rules and notions that must be taken into account that increase the complexity of the work. Also, you need to study every publication you intend to include. There are a lot of things but don’t panic because we are here to help. Let us give you the steps to write the best literature review possible:

  1. Define your objective: are you doing a profound study and will need the literature reviewas a resource? Or do you want to do it now and use it in the future? Maybe you want to study the topic and to write the review will make your learning more efficient. Decide and define what you need from the review.
  2. Structure the length. A literature review’s length will depend on the length of the paper, if your paper must have 5 pages, then the literature review should have between 2 and 3 pages. This also defines the number of publications you are going to review.
  3. Start your research: here’s where the hunting begins. Use books, internet, articles and any formal publication. Read as much as you can and take the authors’opinions regarding which studies are the most respectable and reliable. Takes notes while you are reading, they will be very useful later.
  4. Select the “ones”: once you have read enough, make a selection of the publications adequate for your review, organize them by priority and select useful quotes.
  5. Start writing: after you have all the research done, you just need to summarize what you have already read and organized it in an adequate structure for a literature review.

The structure of a literature review

The structure of a literature review should obey some academic writing parameters that will depend on the type of format you are giving to it. Here are the most commons.

  • The chronological format, in which publications are organized according to the order of the events it studied.
  • The methodological format, in which publications are organized according to the research methods that were used to perform it.
  • The thematic format that structures the publications according to the similarity of the informationthey provide and subjects that were studied.
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