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Example of A Literature Review Structure

07 Feb 2018Literature Review Writing Guides

What is a literature review? This is an essential part of a PhD dissertation. This chapter is similar to what is called the list of references and its main purpose is to collect all the relevant sources of information and organize them in a logical sequence. This part of a dissertation should also make an evaluation of all available sources and find the gaps in existing knowledge on a particular topic in order to create a reasoned ground for research. Thus, it is important to do it properly. If you lack time, you can turn to a company that offers custom essay writing for students but we are sure that after reading this post you should be able to handle this matter on your own!

Example Of A Literature Review Structure

Having a clear understanding of what is a review of literature and what its main objectives are is important. However, it is only 50% of success. The remaining 50% depends on your ability to identify and stick to the proper literature review structure, and that is when you need a good example in front of your eyes. In fact, its format is similar to a casual essay.  If you have an idea of how to write a literary essay you should not face any troubles with creating a literature review. However, to make the whole process simpler and less stressful for you, we offer you to take a look at the following plan that perfectly demonstrates the right design and content of this paper's structure.

The text should consist of three basic components. These components are the same for all academic papers, so you definitely have heard of them – an intro, main body, and a summary (conclusion) and below you can find a detailed explanation to every part.

  1. An Opening Clause

A good intro has to meet the following criteria:

  • Make a clear and understandable definition of the paper’s theme and make a logical transition to the review;
  • Reflect the author’s motives for making this review;
  • Clarify the chosen method of data organization;
  • Make a short transition to the content of the main body to explain what you are going to tell about.
  1. The Main Part

This section has to include the following:

  • The list of sources organized in accordance with their topics or in a chronological order;
  • Explanation of the relevance of every subcategory of sources and how they are connected with each other and the main topic of the paper.
  1. Conclusion

The closing part has to:

  • Make a summary of all significant points drawn from the literature;
  • Make a critical evaluation of the current condition of the referenced sources;
  • Highlight information gaps or any errors that you were able to find in the existing knowledge;
  • Make a suggestion regarding the possibility for further research;
  • Explain how your study fills the gaps of the existing knowledge of the matter.

This is a standard literature review essay structure. You can use it as a basis for your own text in order to avoid making mistakes and finish the task faster.

Two Main Ways To Structure A Literature Review 

Often students underestimate the importance of following the proper structure in a literature review and it is a huge mistake that can cost you a grade and thus, it is an important nuance. What is a proper structure? There are two main ways to write a literature review. These methods are called chronological and thematic, they have certain distinctive features but both can be used to structure and organize your text effectively.

  1. The Thematic Literature Review

This method of data organization is based on grouping different literature sources by their topic and theoretic concept in an order, defined by their relevance and importance. Many students choose this type of structure. Many people insist that writing a review using this form of organization rather than a chronological one, helps a student make his review stronger because it requires you to analyze topics, theories, and concepts that are vital for your investigation. It also requires you to include the explanation of why certain sources are linked to each other, which is usually done by means of providing a relevant title to every category. How to choose the right sequence? There is no one specific rule. However, it will be wise to place the categories in a sequence starting from the most significant (broad) ones to those that are more specific to keep it clear and understandable.

  1. The Chronological Literature Review

If you prefer to stick to a chronological method of data organization, you have to list your sources in a chronological order, for example, the date when each source was published. It is not as strong as the previous one. However, in some cases, it can be more appropriate. To be specific, this method is perfect for historiographical works and other reviews that are focused more on the investigation methodology or on how the specific issue were developing over time.

These are the main ways to organize your literature review. However, regardless of which method you choose, there are a few other significant aspects to keep in mind such as using powerful and logical transitions between ideas. Also, you need to keep in mind that such a list is not a simple reflection of the main ideas related to your topic, it is aimed at demonstrating how well you are familiar with the available literature, theories, and issues.

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