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Writing A Literature Review: General Guidelines

Writing a literature review for a research paper is a daunting task because it takes lots of time and effort. It involves listing, analyzing, concluding, and summarizing all useful academic sources used to write a research paper. These will include books, journals, case studies, magazines, online sources, and any other approved academic sources to get information for your assignment. This might sound confusing, but learning how to write a literature review for a research paper can help you finish your task on time.

A literature review shows readers how much effort you’ve put into your task. It also gives them a chance to look back at these sources if they have any questions. This part of your task will take time, so some students prefer to hire a reputable literature review writing service to do this task on their behalf. However, others will decide to do it on their own. Here is how to write literature reviews for all research papers:

  • List all the sources used in the research paper.
  • Start with the most relevant ones that contributed most to the understanding of your research problem.
  • Explain the relationship between various references used to compose your research paper.
  • Highlight the knowledge of each source and how it contributed to your task.
  • Analyze sources, and highlight any areas for further research or errors made by other researchers.

Need to write a literature review ?

During English lessons you may have to write a literature review. This involves analyzing a book and things such as characters, plotlines and themes. You also give your own opinions on the story. Find out info on writing literature review essays.

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Drafting a Literature Review

Most students wonder how to format a literature review in a way that would eventually improve the quality of their academic writing. As a matter of fact, it’s not as difficult as it may sound, but it requires paying attention to several important details.

Literature reviews should involve several pieces of information like the reason for writing a review, a brief discussion of the topic, an organized list of all academic sources used, in addition to a comprehensive evaluation of each one.

This standard format will help you finish the literature review for any research paper, regardless of its type. It’s all about following some simple rules that help you submit your task with the best quality.

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How To Write A Good Literature Review for Research Project

Now you’re probably wondering: What is literature review in research? How can I write one?

This is where you will provide detailed analysis and highlight research findings to offer more information to readers.

Your lit review will be made of 3 parts, the introduction, main body, and conclusion. In the introduction, you should highlight the importance of your research topic and mention any controversies, in addition to background knowledge. The body of your literature review should have subheadings for subtopics or subcategories. It will include topics and current knowledge, in addition to areas for further research. In the end, you will write the conclusion where you summarize evidence and mention how they relate to your findings.

Here are some steps you can follow to finish this part of your assignment:

Narrow Down your Topic

Literature reviews should be detailed and specific. This means you should narrow down your working topic as much as possible. Ask your professor about how many sources to include, their nature, and whether you should analyze, evaluate or critique them. Think about what interests you and what would interest readers. It’s also critical to mention sources that contradict to your research viewpoint as these sources add value to your assignment.

Work on the Sources

The purpose of sources and references is to provide valuable information. Use relevant keywords, and find credible academic references that add value to your research paper and strengthen your position. Read and evaluate them to understand assumptions made by other researchers, in addition to the methodologies used. Highlight the names of notable experts in your field and list all conflicting opinions in your literature review. Finding models of other literature reviews is essential as it helps you see how others handled similar tasks.

Organize Topics

Follow the right literature review format by listing references according to relevance and how much data obtained from each source adds weight to your literature review. Start with the ones that contributed most to your research paper knowledge. Highlight the most important findings and mention several critical trends in the topic of your research paper by referring to these academic references. It’s important to mention the most important theories and trends in your area of studies.

Importance of Current Knowledge

Your field of knowledge plays a role in determining the significance of sources. In some research papers, sources that go back a few years shouldn’t be used in any task, while in others your research can go years back. In scientific studies, for example, researchers should always make sure that they’re listing the most current information. All obsolete and old data should be excluded. In humanitarian studies, most students should be able to evaluate how a single theory has changed and evolved over time.

Work on your Review

If you’re merely stating names of researchers and what they’ve done, then you’re doing your literature review wrong. The literature review of a research paper is different from a bibliography. You won’t list sources and explain each one of them in details. Analyze and highlight ideas or topics and draw relationships between references. Summarize conclusions about the latest trends in the subject. Include subheadings and organize sources and findings under relevant subheadings. Every section or subheading should logically connect to the previous and next ones.

Choose Method of Organization

Sources in a lit review are either organized in a thematic manner, by trend, in a methodological approach, by publication or chronological order. The most popular way is to list your sources according to topic as this helps you highlight trends and theories regarding your assignment. This method might require shifting different time periods in each section as long as they relate to the same point.

Analyze and Criticize

Evaluate and compare sources from an analytical point of view. The literature review structure should be able to inform readers about trends, knowledge, and problems solved in the task or areas where you’d faced challenges. Write a critical analysis by highlighting relationships between sources in the body of your review. Read what you’ve written, and see if you have a clear central idea around which the research revolves. If this is not clear, rewrite the outline of your assignment, and make sure that it delivers relevant information.

Tips for Writing a Literature Review for a Research Paper

There are a few easy tips that help you finish an excellent literature review paper. Follow these tips to avoid mistakes that will cost you more time and effort:

  1. Include lots of primary data sources. Most students will make a mistake of relying on secondary data sources which might be easier to find but don’t provide value to interested readers.
  2. Avoid relying on sources that don’t directly relate to your topic. This requires spending enough time to research and understand the nature of the assignment.
  3. Examine and analyze opposing opinions. This shows that you’ve done a great job to reach a relevant conclusion.
  4. Describe procedures used in identifying sources to include in your literature review.
  5. Stick to an academic style. Avoid descriptive and narrative writing in your assignment. However, students should always try to be consistent and use their own voice to convey their messages and ideas.
  6. Make sure that all sources are properly cited to avoid plagiarism.
  7. Check your writing and fix any grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.
Get your paper written by a professional writer

Writing a literature review in a research paper will take time, but it adds significant value to your assignment. It will be easy if you follow the right format and outline. Critically analyze sources and information to focus on the most relevant sources that show how hard you’ve worked on your task.

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