How to Write a Literature Review Essay: Read This Guide Before Writing

Published by admin under Essays

December 16, 2019

How to Write a Literature Review Essay

Literature reviews are written by well-known publications and critics, and due to the popularity of information technology on the Internet, ordinary people write such reviews as well. Today, even many educational institutions ask students to write literature review essays. What is a review? How to write a literature review essay properly? You can find answers to these questions in this article.

What Is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a critical analysis and characterization of a piece of literature, whether it be a book, poetry, article, or scientific research. The criteria for a successful literature review are as follows:

  1. Providing full information about the author, the title of the work, publication, and key points in the content.
  2. Clear and competent analysis of literature with orientation to the target audience.
  3. Analytical judgments about what’s good and bad in the piece of literature.
  4. Providing the full amount of data to form an opinion about the book.
  5. A review of a recently published book, not a rewritten work from another person’s review.
  6. Mentioning other publications and works of the author.

The review should not have errors. The review should have a volume of 200-400 words; if it is longer, then it is a critical article on literature.

Why Are Literature Reviews Necessary?

It is possible to write reviews on poems, books, articles, the text of any format for the development of creative abilities, personal self-development, as well as for transmitting impressions and opinions about literature. To make a review of a book, a potential author must have a goal, for example:

  • the in-depth assimilation of the read material
  • for blogging and attracting readers
  • for the development and manifestation of expert skills, which will attract the attention of publishers

Ultimately, the regular compilation and publication of reviews of literary novelties and other publications can become the basis for conducting commercial activities. Many publishers need professional reviewers; in addition, reviews in the future can be made not only of literature, but of movies, dance performances, and many more.

Structure of a Review

A literature review should not resemble an essay or a rewritten finished review found on the Internet. When writing a review, it is important to use only your own knowledge and judgment, and the typical structure of a book review will tell you how to start and how to analyze the work correctly. It consists of an introductory and main part, a critical analysis, and conclusion.


As an introduction, the author needs to draw up a bibliographic description of the literature. This includes facts such as the book’s name and author’s data, the year of publication, and publisher. Next, the reviewer needs to set the tone of his or her review, revealing the genre and the main idea of the book.

Book summary

In this section of the essay, the reviewer needs to pay attention to a brief retelling of the content. In fact, this is a rather time-consuming process, since a large amount of information needs to fit in 2-3 sentences. Excessive information is unacceptable, but the omission of important ideas of the work will also be a mistake.

Reviewer impression

In this part, the reviewer should provide the reader with the most objective personal impression of the literature. In this section, the reviewer cannot give sharp assessments or express emotions. A true expert will always remain objective and fair, even if he or she did not like the work.


The analytical part of the literature review should be capacious and concise, including the following data:

  • book title assessment
  • assessment of the content of the work and the structuring of the text
  • assessment of the practical part

That is, the author should talk about how the topic of the book is disclosed in the content, and how clear and interesting the main idea of the work is. You can also evaluate the time and place of events and how they coincide, as well as how the characters and the change of their behavior are revealed. Look how analysis was conducted in this Animal Farm review.

Definition of the “good” and “bad” sides of a book

To correctly compile and implement a literature review plan, when writing the strengths and weaknesses of the work, you need to pay attention to several criteria:

  • dynamic storytelling and logical plot lines
  • the realism of the characters, their behaviors, and the reliability and sophistication of the main characters
  • feelings that propel the characters in the plot
  • the correspondence of different details in the book and reality
  • the author’s language and writing style
  • the logic and chronology of events, and the reaction of the protagonists to them
  • the uniqueness and originality of the idea of the book
  • the relevance of the idea
  • personal feelings

When writing about strengths and weaknesses, it is not at all necessary to take all the specified criteria as examples – you should talk about those that really are in the book. Much like writing a review, and most importantly, the pros and cons of a work, it depends on what type of literature is studied.

The results of the study of the material and recommendations for the audience

The author can indicate in thesis format personal conclusions about the work, evaluate the professional suitability and relevance of the book, and also share recommendations for readers.

Common Mistakes

In addition to the rules for compiling the structure, you need to familiarize yourself with typical mistakes when writing literature reviews in order to avoid making them in your essay. Some of the common mistakes are as follows:

  1. A retelling of the events that will be present in the book.
  2. Insulting the author’s work.
  3. Familiarity and rudeness. The review should be objective.

Now you know how to write a literature review, essay sample will also be helpful if you don’t know how to start writing. With this guide and samples, it won’t be difficult for you to write a review. However, if you have some troubles, you can always get help on BuyEssay. Here, you can buy an essay or any other type of paper.