Literature Review Writing

As you are working on your academic tasks, you may need to produce a comprehensive review of literature. It means developing a profound understanding of the research findings that were published in relation to your topic. Remember that your readers may not know as much about your topic as you do. Therefore, you must provide them with the background knowledge of your subject. Besides, your review of literature will be important for you to justify the topic of your dissertation. To produce a high-quality review, you must do the following:

  • review your topic against the literature you have collected;
  • review the key findings and see what gaps exist in the literature you have found;
  • link the findings and integrate them into a cohesive narrative;
  • describe the significance of these findings for your work;
  • interpret and analyze the meaning and explain them to your reader;
  • try to understand any contradictions that exist among researchers and their findings;
  • see if the literature you have located can provide any meaningful input into your own work;
  • propose recommendations for future research.

Now think of what should be included in your review of literature.

First, you must be able to structure your literature review around several core topics or themes. These themes or topics should be arranged logically. Do not forget to cite and reference other researchers. Explain complex terminology and be unbiased in your analysis of the most significant findings.

Ideally, your literature review should comprise the following components:

  • an overview of the topic and subject;
  • a discussion of the main findings, while diving them into categories or themes;
  • a connection among different works and findings;
  • a conclusion about what meaning these findings may carry for your future work.

You may want to consider a number of questions or issues while working on your literature review:

  • Authors' credentials and qualifications: are they sufficient to guarantee the highest validity and reliability of the study results?
  • Objectivity and neutrality: are researchers objective enough when reporting their findings?
  • Credibility: can you see how convincing the authors' arguments are?
  • Worth: do you believe that the authors' recommendations and findings add value to the results of your own work?

Do not forget about the importance of transitions. Your ideas should be linked logically to one another. In addition, you need to analyze rather than summarize them. You should clearly articulate your position and see if the sources you have collected support or refute your assumptions. Your task is to convince your readers that you know everything about the topic. Use the following verbs, if you want to:

  • emphasize the positive aspects of your work – hold, advocate, suggest, confirm;
  • emphasize the disagreement with your beliefs and thesis – deny, address, comment;
  • emphasize the tentativeness of the argument – hypothesize, believe, assume;
  • emphasize the critical approach to the argument – object, refute, attack.

Your literature review will become an integral component of your academic work. It will show that you can select the most relevant and significant materials, paraphrase them, analyze them, and integrate them into your narrative. If you use quotations, they should be meaningful and important. See what language researchers use to communicate their thoughts. Develop a broader picture of your study, by using the findings reported by other scholars. Be reasonable with the use of citations and quotations. Introduce them properly and explain their meaning. Do not forget about the key message you want to articulate to your readers. Do not deviate from the topic, and your literature review will bring you a huge academic success.

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