Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Asfa Rasheed
Literature reviews are an important component of academic writing. They provide the foundation for understanding and evaluating research, theory, and ideas in a particular field. A good literature review will help communicate your research to others by linking it to other studies that have been done before. It also helps you find gaps in the existing knowledge on your topic so you can focus on those areas where more research is needed.
Table of Contents
Know your purpose.
To write your literature review, you first need to know your dissertation’s purpose and research’s purpose. This is especially important if you’re working on a research project that has previously been conducted.
For example, let’s say you want to experiment on how mice react when exposed to a certain type of music. You could write a literature review about the studies that were done in the past to test this hypothesis and maybe even find some new ways for conducting further studies with different methods or more samples.
Choose a topic.
After deciding on your topic, the next step is to choose a literature review style. There are two main types of literature reviews: critical and descriptive.
- The critical style takes a more analytical approach. If you’ve chosen this review, you will assess existing work in the field to identify gaps or weaknesses in the existing body of knowledge. You will also be critiquing different theories about your topic and identifying areas for future research.
- A descriptive literature review describes current practices, knowledge, and attitudes within an industry or sector using research findings from previous studies or surveys conducted by others (e.g., government statistics).
Learn what to include in the literature review.
- Include a summary of the literature.
- Describe research methods used in the literature.
- Describe findings from the studies.
- Discuss implications for practice.
Know the type of sources you need to reference.
There are three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
- Primary sources are the original material from which you are writing.
- Secondary sources are other people’s interpretations of primary sources.
- Tertiary sources are secondary sources referenced by other authors in their own work.
Quaternary sources are tertiary sources referenced by other authors in their own work that has already been cited by another author who cited a quaternary source referencing a primary source (you get the idea).
Find and read the best available sources.
- Finding and reading the best sources is another important process. There are many places where you can find information about the topic you are writing about, including books and journals. The key is selecting good quality sources. You need to know how to evaluate them.
- The next step is finding these sources by searching through libraries or on the internet (using search engines) for books and articles that relate directly or indirectly to your topic. If you’re writing an essay and not sure where the help might be found, take help from essay writing services and talk with your librarian at school or work; they may be able to help guide your search efforts.
Identify major trends or patterns.
As you read a range of articles on your topic, you should note trends and patterns over time as reported in the literature. There are two main reasons why trends and patterns are important to identify:
- They help you answer the research question: For example, if most studies have been done with women between 25-35 years old, this may inform what age range would be best to include in your study design.
- They help identify gaps in the literature: If there is no information regarding how children respond to this type of intervention, then this gives you an idea that more work needs to be done with youth populations so that you can address any gaps found in current understanding about this topic area.
The literature review is the most important part of your dissertation and is critical to the research process. The literature review is a summary of the work of others, so you can learn from their experience and avoid repeating mistakes. A good literature review guides your research, helping you decide what questions to ask and where to look for answers.
You might be wondering about the purpose of writing a literature review. The answer is simple: it’s a great way to start your research! A literature review helps you organize your ideas and identify gaps in existing research.
You can use this information to frame your research questions and plan what steps need to be taken next. Plus, if you’re going into academia, then having experience writing these types of papers will prove invaluable later on down the road when applying for jobs or grants at universities (not just their funding).
Carmen Troy is a research-based content writer, who works for Cognizantt, a globally recognized professional SEO service and Research Prospect; an 论文和论文写作服务 Mr Carmen holds a PhD degree in mass communication. He loves to express his views on various issues, including education, technology, and more.